Obesity in kids will save social security
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Scientists Say Life Expectancy To Drop
03/17/05 7:34 AM PT
Obesity could help keep Social Security solvent because people will die younger. "One of the consequences of our prediction is that Social Security does not appear to be in nearly as bad a shape as we think," said study author S. Jay Olshansky.
University of Illinois at Chicago researchers Wednesday reported the rise in obesity will result in a drop in life expectancy.
Professor S. Jay Olshansky's team, writing in the March 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, said obesity currently reduces life expectancy by four to nine months.
The researchers said the life-span effects of obesity could rise two to five years in the next 50 years, possibly exceeding the current life-shortening effects of cancer or heart disease.
Most life-span forecasts are based on historical trends, which the researchers said fail to consider the obesity epidemic.
They noted obesity actually could help keep Social Security solvent because people will die younger.
"One of the consequences of our prediction is that Social Security does not appear to be in nearly as bad a shape as we think," Olshansky said.
"The obese may be inadvertently 'saving' Social Security, but the obese themselves and the healthcare system that cares for them will pay a very heavy price in terms of higher death rates and escalating healthcare costs."
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