In the latest American Journal of Public Health, Dr. Peter Muennig and his colleagues posit a novel new approach to determining the health risks of obesity – the QALY (Quality-Adjusted Life Year). Most epidemiologists take the approach of looking at death (it’s easier to quantify), but Muennig et al. examined years of health lost due to obesity. Pretty neat concept, although there is a definite subjective quality to it (in defining the degree of “quality of life” lost).
According to the study US women lost 1.5 million more QALYs than men, attributable to being obese. Being just overweight cost US women almost the same, about 1.5 million more QALYs. Does this mean that women become more susceptible to disease as a result of being overweight? Or perhaps does carrying the extra weight affect women’s bodies in different (read: more negative) ways than men’s bodies? Is there something in lifestyle differences between men and women that amplifies this effect?
The article is a nice teaser but I’ll be glad when I can get my grubby little hands on a copy of the actual study to get the answers. Guess I’ll have to wait till September.
The most hilarious part is the end quote from Muennig where he relates,
You mean that worrying about being overweight is killing women? Give me a break.