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
ISSN Number0070-3370
Call Numbernewpubs20091202_MehtaChang.pdf
KeywordsBody Mass Index, Confidence Intervals, Confounding Factors, Epidemiologic, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Multivariate Analysis, Obesity, Proportional Hazards Models, Risk, Socioeconomic factors, United States

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 > or = or = 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 > or = 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 findings 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
Grant ListK12HD043459 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States