Send to

Choose Destination
Ann Epidemiol. 2005 Aug;15(7):483-91.

Associations with weight loss and subsequent mortality risk.

Author information

Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, WI 53726-2336, USA.



Studies have shown a high prevalence of weight loss in older adults is associated with an increased risk of death. We investigated this in a population-based study.


Persons living in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, participated in a baseline examination between 1988 and 1990 (n=4926). A medical examination and standardized questionnaire were administered. Weight loss was defined as percent loss in body weight from highest lifetime weight to measured weight at baseline.


Weight loss was associated with older age, higher rates of diseases such as diabetes, and lower baseline levels of blood pressure and serum total cholesterol. After controlling for age, medical, and lifestyle factors, both men and women had higher mortality rates over a 10+ year period for increasing categories of weight loss (hazard ratio [ 95% CI]: 1.16 [1.06, 1.27] for men and 1.23 [1.13, 1.34] for women). Increased mortality rates with increasing weight loss was shown in stratified analyses of age, body mass index (BMI) at highest weight, smoking, and disease status, but did not always reach statistical significance. Persons on weight loss diets within the year prior to baseline did not have increased mortality with increasing weight loss.


The strong association between weight loss (likely involuntary) and mortality may be a useful way of estimating overall risks to longevity in populations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center