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July 2001 Issue

Overweight Tops Even Smoking as Health Risk

Being overweight—especially obese—has a more debilitating effect on health than smoking, drinking or poverty, says a study by the nonprofit RAND Institute. According to a phone survey of 9,585 adults across the U.S., healthy-weight individuals had, on average, 1.1 chronic health conditions (such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes and heart disease) compared to 1.3 conditions in those classified as overweight, 1.7 in those who qualified as obese and 2.0 in those who were severely obese. While poverty was almost as strong

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