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Body mass index is a rough estimate of a person's body fat based on height and weight measurements.Heart disease deaths had declined consistently for nearly 40 years.

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The statistical model also estimated that 186,000 excess deaths occurred that year due to rising BMI in the United States. Rekha Kumar is an endocrinologist with New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center's Comprehensive Weight Control Center in New York City.

"We only see coverage for obesity medications about 30 percent of the time." Kumar said it's important to understand that losing weight is "more complicated than 'eat less, exercise more.'" She recommended seeing a doctor who specializes in weight management who can help you successfully shed pounds and keep them off.

Rosen agreed that there's no easy answer for losing weight.

17, 2018 -- The death rate in the United States isn't decreasing as it has in years past, and some experts blame the opioid epidemic.

But a new study suggests America's increasing girth is what's really behind the slowdown.

"The last time we saw a dip in life expectancy was with HIV/AIDS, and we reacted to that crisis and developed new drugs," she said.

"But there's an extreme bias with obesity because it's considered a behavioral condition, and insurers and Medicare and Medicaid are slow to provide coverage for obesity treatments," Kumar added.

The researchers also looked at related death data through 2011.

Using a statistical model, the researchers assessed how much of the slowing death rate trend could be explained by rising body mass index.

To get a better idea of obesity's impact on death rates, Preston and his colleagues gathered data from a national health survey from 1988 through 2010.

The survey included more than 25,000 Americans between 40 and 84 years old.

Kumar said many experts believe an increase in "deaths of despair" -- such as opioid overdoses or suicides -- has slowed improvements in death rates.