BROKEN bones and sleeplessness could be more dangerous than obesity, says new research, The Sun reports. Losing your sense of smell and loneliness are also listed among the “hidden killers” that will send you to an early grave. A broken bone, in middle age, may seem insignificant but it could affect the odds of an early death.
The Chicago study found that these factors are just as important as weight, blood pressure and heart disease when it comes to life-expectancy. And being obese, in itself, won’t necessarily mean an earlier death. Chicago University researchers said that to judge health, medics should look at each person as a whole.
The team, which included psychologists, sociologists and doctors specialising in the care of the elderly, analysed the health and lifestyle of 3,000 men and women aged between 57 and 85. They looked at data on diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure and examined factors such as loneliness, difficulty in walking and the strength of the senses, including smell.
They then looked at who died or became seriously ill in the five years and found some surprising results. All of the healthiest group were overweight and many of them had high blood pressure, although they had only a 6 per cent chance of dying or becoming very ill.
Mobility, sense of smell and mental health were all good in this group and the study concluded obesity was not dangerous in older adults, on its own/ However, all the members of another group with a 14 per cent chance of death or very bad health, had broken a bone after the age of 45 and were at a higher risk of osteoporosis.
A third group, who suffered a range of mental problems including stress, depression, loneliness and broken sleep had a 19 per cent odds of death or serious illness. The biggest hidden killers were listed as:
A broken bone
Loss of sense of smell
Author Martha McClintock said: “The new comprehensive model of health identifies constellations of health completely hidden by the medical model.” Researcher Dr William Dale said: “From a health system perspective, a shift of attention is needed from disease-focused management, such as medications for hypertension or high cholesterol, to overall well-being across many areas.”