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Maximum BMI Over 16 Years Ups Risk of All-Cause Death

If BMI was defined as a single measure, there was a significant inverse link for overweight, mortality


TUESDAY, April 4, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Maximum body mass index (BMI) over 16 years of weight history is associated with increased risk of all-cause death, according to a study published online April 4 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Edward Yu, from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between maximum BMI over 16 years and mortality in 225,072 men and women from the Nurses' Health Study I and II and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study. Over a mean follow-up of 12.3 years, 32,571 deaths were observed.

The researchers found that maximum BMIs in the overweight, obese I, and obese II categories correlated with increases in the risk for all-cause death (multivariate hazard ratios, 1.06, 1.24, and 1.73, respectively). Across strata defined by smoking status, sex, and age, the pattern of excess risk with a maximum BMI above normal weight was maintained, with greatest excess seen for those younger than 70 years and never smokers. When BMI was defined using a single baseline measure, there was a significant inverse association between overweight and mortality (hazard ratio, 0.96). Maximum overweight correlated with increased cause-specific mortality, including cardiovascular death and coronary heart disease death.

"The paradoxical association between overweight and mortality is reversed in analyses incorporating weight history," the authors write. "Maximum BMI may be a useful metric to minimize reverse causation bias associated with a single baseline BMI assessment."

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