Obesity -- the deadly disease that nobody dies of

August 31, 2020

New research presented at the European and International Conference on Obesity (ECO ICO 2020), held online this year (1-4 September), reveals that obesity and the illnesses it causes rarely appear as an official cause of death on the UK Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD).

Obesity is known to be a significant risk factor for many common causes of death, but it is rarely identified on the MCCD, despite the process of certifying a death becoming increasingly rigorous. Medical professionals not only have a moral duty to correctly record the reasons for a death; doing so is also vitally important to ensure the accuracy of public health data on mortality.

The study was conducted by Dr Niloofar Tavangar Ranjbar, Dr Charles Millson, and colleagues at York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundations Trust, York, UK. The team aimed to evaluate whether obesity was being included on the MCCD in cases of obesity-related death (ORD).

The researchers identified all 121 available death certificates recorded at York Teaching Hospital over a 4-week period in October 2019. Of these, 112 had sufficient information in their electronic notes to establish demographic details, weight, and comorbidities alongside the cause of death, as stated on the MCCD.

The average age of death was 80 years (range 28-99 years) and 55% of the deceased were female. The study identified several obesity-related comorbidities among the sample group: hypertension (67% of cases), ischemic heart disease (46%), high cholesterol (41%), cerebrovascular disease (37%), type 2 diabetes (25%), peripheral arterial disease (17%), vascular dementia (13%), and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (6%). Average body mass index (BMI) was 25.4 kg/m2 which falls into the overweight category, just above the 'healthy' range of 18.5-25.0.

The authors found that among the subjects who had obesity (BMI of above 30) (n=22), the mean age of death was 73.1 years, compared to 84.1 years for subjects who were merely overweight (BMI 25-30) (n=28). Of the 50 individuals who had overweight or obesity, 32% died of an obesity-related illness, and when looking at just those who had obesity, the proportion dying of an obesity-related illness rose to 45%. Despite this, only 2 of the 22 people (9%) who were classed as obese had obesity recorded as a cause of death on their MCCD.

The researchers say: "Obesity-related diseases were commonplace in our cohort. In people with a BMI over 30, and thus classed as obese, close to half died from an obesity related illness, and yet obesity rarely appeared as a cause of death on the medical cause of death certificate."

They add: "It appears obesity is not being appropriately recorded on the medical cause of death certificate in cases of obesity related deaths. Further larger studies are warranted to determine the breadth of this issue, so that public health policy may be directed accordingly."

European Association for the Study of Obesity

Related Obesity Articles from Brightsurf:

11 years of data add to the evidence for using testosterone therapy to treat obesity, including as an alternative to obesity surgery
New research covering 11 years of data presented at this year's European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) show that, in obese men suffering from hypogonadism (low testosterone), treatment with testosterone injections lowers their weight and improves a wide range of other metabolic parameters.

Overlap between immunology of COVID-19 and obesity could explain the increased risk of death in people living with obesity, and also older patients
Data presented in a special COVID-19 session at the European and International Congress on Obesity (ECOICO 2020) suggests that there are overlaps between the immunological disturbances found in both COVID-19 disease and patients with obesity, which could explain the increased disease severity and mortality risk faced by obese patients, and also elderly patients, who are infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease.

New obesity guideline: Address root causes as foundation of obesity management
besity management should focus on outcomes that patients consider to be important, not weight loss alone, and include a holistic approach that addresses the root causes of obesity, according to a new clinical practice guideline published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal) http://www.cmaj.ca/lookup/doi/10.1503/cmaj.191707.

Changing the debate around obesity
The UK's National Health Service (NHS) needs to do more to address the ingrained stigma and discrimination faced by people with obesity, says a leading health psychologist.

Study links longer exposure to obesity and earlier development of obesity to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
Cumulative exposure to obesity could be at least as important as actually being obese in terms of risk of developing type 2 diabetes (T2D), concludes new research published in Diabetologia (the journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes [EASD]).

How much do obesity and addictions overlap?
A large analysis of personality studies has found that people with obesity behave somewhat like people with addictions to alcohol or drugs.

Should obesity be recognized as a disease?
With obesity now affecting almost a third (29%) of the population in England, and expected to rise to 35% by 2030, should we now recognize it as a disease?

Is obesity associated with risk of pediatric MS?
A single-center study of 453 children in Germany with multiple sclerosis (MS) investigated the association of obesity with pediatric MS risk and with the response of first-line therapy in children with MS.

Women with obesity prior to conception are more likely to have children with obesity
A systematic review and meta-analysis identified significantly increased odds of child obesity when mothers have obesity before conception, according to a study published June 11, 2019 in the open-access journal PLOS Medicine by Nicola Heslehurst of Newcastle University in the UK, and colleagues.

Obesity medicine association announces major updates to its adult obesity algorithm
The Obesity Medicine Association (OMA) announced the immediate availability of the 2019 OMA Adult Obesity Algorithm, with new information for clinicians including the relationship between Obesity and Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Dyslipidemia, and Cancer; information on investigational Anti-Obesity Pharmacotherapy; treatments for Lipodystrophy; and Pharmacokinetics and Obesity.

Read More: Obesity News and Obesity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.