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Body Mass Index and All Cause Mortality: Meta-analysis of Prospective Studies

The Global BMI Mortality Collaborative report a meta-analysis of 293 prospective studies from Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe and North America. A consistent positive relationship between body mass index and all cause mortality was observed. The relationship was observed in major underlying disease subgroups: coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory disease and cancer.



Overweight and obesity are increasing worldwide. To help assess their relevance to mortality in diff erent
populations we conducted individual-participant data meta-analyses of prospective studies of body-mass index (BMI),
limiting confounding and reverse causality by restricting analyses to never-smokers and excluding pre-existing
disease and the fi rst 5 years of follow-up.


Of 10 625 411 participants in Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, and North America from 239 prospective
studies (median follow-up 13·7 years, IQR 11·4–14·7), 3 951 455 people in 189 studies were never-smokers without
chronic diseases at recruitment who survived 5 years, of whom 385 879 died. The primary analyses are of these deaths,
and study, age, and sex adjusted hazard ratios (HRs), relative to BMI 22·5–<25·0 kg/m².
Findings All-cause mortality was minimal at 20·0–25·0 kg/m² (HR 1·00, 95% CI 0·98–1·02 for BMI 20·0–<22·5 kg/m²;
1·00, 0·99–1·01 for BMI 22·5–<25·0 kg/m²), and increased significantly both just below this range (1·13, 1·09–1·17
for BMI 18·5–<20·0 kg/m²; 1·51, 1·43–1·59 for BMI 15·0–<18·5) and throughout the overweight range (1·07,
1·07–1·08 for BMI 25·0–<27·5 kg/m²; 1·20, 1·18–1·22 for BMI 27·5–<30·0 kg/m²). The HR for obesity grade 1
(BMI 30·0–<35·0 kg/m²) was 1·45, 95% CI 1·41–1·48; the HR for obesity grade 2 (35·0–<40·0 kg/m²) was 1·94,
1·87–2·01; and the HR for obesity grade 3 (40·0–<60·0 kg/m²) was 2·76, 2·60–2·92. For BMI over 25·0 kg/m²,
mortality increased approximately log-linearly with BMI; the HR per 5 kg/m² units higher BMI was 1·39 (1·34–1·43)
in Europe, 1·29 (1·26–1·32) in North America, 1·39 (1·34–1·44) in east Asia, and 1·31 (1·27–1·35) in Australia and
New Zealand. This HR per 5 kg/m² units higher BMI (for BMI over 25 kg/m²) was greater in younger than older
people (1·52, 95% CI 1·47–1·56, for BMI measured at 35–49 years vs 1·21, 1·17–1·25, for BMI measured at
70–89 years; p heterogeneity<0·0001), greater in men than women (1·51, 1·46–1·56, vs 1·30, 1·26–1·33; p heterogeneity<0·0001), but similar in studies with self-reported and measured BMI.

The associations of both overweight and obesity with higher all-cause mortality were broadly consistent in four continents. This finding supports strategies to combat the entire spectrum of excess adiposity in many


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