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PLoS Med. 2014 Jul 8;11(7):e1001673. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001673. eCollection 2014 Jul.

Association between class III obesity (BMI of 40-59 kg/m2) and mortality: a pooled analysis of 20 prospective studies.

Author information

1
Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
2
Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
3
Division of Cancer Etiology, Department of Population Sciences, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, Duarte, California, United States of America.
4
Westat, Rockville, Maryland, United States of America.
5
Cancer Epidemiology Centre, Cancer Council of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; Centre for Molecular, Environmental, Genetic, and Analytic Epidemiology, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
6
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America.
7
Center for Health Research, School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, United States of America.
8
Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Tromsø-The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway; Department of Research, Cancer Registry of Norway, Oslo, Norway; Samfundet Folkhälsan, Helsinki, Finland.
9
Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
10
Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, California, United States of America.
11
Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America.
12
Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
13
Department of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Population Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, California, United States of America.
14
Epidemiology Research Program, American Cancer Society, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America.
15
Divisions of Preventive Medicine and Aging, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America; Massachusetts Veteran's Epidemiology, Research and Information Center, Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.
16
Division of Nutritional Epidemiology, National Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.
17
Epidemiology Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States of America.
18
Division of Epidemiology, Department of Population Health and NYU Cancer Institute, NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York, United States of America.
19
Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America.
20
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The prevalence of class III obesity (body mass index [BMI]≥40 kg/m2) has increased dramatically in several countries and currently affects 6% of adults in the US, with uncertain impact on the risks of illness and death. Using data from a large pooled study, we evaluated the risk of death, overall and due to a wide range of causes, and years of life expectancy lost associated with class III obesity.

METHODS AND FINDINGS:

In a pooled analysis of 20 prospective studies from the United States, Sweden, and Australia, we estimated sex- and age-adjusted total and cause-specific mortality rates (deaths per 100,000 persons per year) and multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for adults, aged 19-83 y at baseline, classified as obese class III (BMI 40.0-59.9 kg/m2) compared with those classified as normal weight (BMI 18.5-24.9 kg/m2). Participants reporting ever smoking cigarettes or a history of chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, stroke, or emphysema) on baseline questionnaires were excluded. Among 9,564 class III obesity participants, mortality rates were 856.0 in men and 663.0 in women during the study period (1976-2009). Among 304,011 normal-weight participants, rates were 346.7 and 280.5 in men and women, respectively. Deaths from heart disease contributed largely to the excess rates in the class III obesity group (rate differences = 238.9 and 132.8 in men and women, respectively), followed by deaths from cancer (rate differences = 36.7 and 62.3 in men and women, respectively) and diabetes (rate differences = 51.2 and 29.2 in men and women, respectively). Within the class III obesity range, multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for total deaths and deaths due to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, nephritis/nephrotic syndrome/nephrosis, chronic lower respiratory disease, and influenza/pneumonia increased with increasing BMI. Compared with normal-weight BMI, a BMI of 40-44.9, 45-49.9, 50-54.9, and 55-59.9 kg/m2 was associated with an estimated 6.5 (95% CI: 5.7-7.3), 8.9 (95% CI: 7.4-10.4), 9.8 (95% CI: 7.4-12.2), and 13.7 (95% CI: 10.5-16.9) y of life lost. A limitation was that BMI was mainly ascertained by self-report.

CONCLUSIONS:

Class III obesity is associated with substantially elevated rates of total mortality, with most of the excess deaths due to heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, and major reductions in life expectancy compared with normal weight. Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary.

PMID:
25003901
PMCID:
PMC4087039
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pmed.1001673
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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