Mortality Attributable to Obesity Among Middle-Aged Adults in the United States

TitleMortality Attributable to Obesity Among Middle-Aged Adults in the United States
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsMehta, NK, Chang, VW
Call Numbernewpubs20091202_MehtaChang.pdf
KeywordsDemographics, Health Conditions and Status

Obesity is considered a major cause of premature mortality and a potential threat to the longstanding secular decline in mortality in the United States. We measure relative and attributable risks associated with obesity among middle-aged adults using data from the Health and Retirement Study (1992 2004). Although class II/III obesity (BMI . 35.0 kg/m2) increases mortality by 40 in females and 62 in males compared with normal BMI (BMI = 18.5 24.9), class I obesity (BMI = 30.0 34.9) and being overweight (BMI = 25.0 29.9) are not associated with excess mortality. With respect to attributable mortality, class II/III obesity (BMI . 35.0) is responsible for approximately 4 of deaths among females and 3 of deaths among males. Obesity is often compared with cigarette smoking as a major source of avoidable mortality. Smoking-attributable mortality is much larger in this cohort: about 36 in females and 50 in males. Results are robust to confounding by preexisting diseases, multiple dimensions of socioeconomic status (SES), smoking, and other correlates. These fi ndings challenge the viewpoint that obesity will stem the long-term secular decline in U.S. mortality.

Endnote Keywords

Mortality/Obesity/Middle Aged Adults

Endnote ID


Citation Key7377
PubMed ID20084832
PubMed Central IDPMC2831354