Excess Weight May Not Equal Early Mortality After All

BMI linked to lowest rate of all-cause early death up by more than three units since 1970s

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WEDNESDAY, May 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- The body mass index (BMI) linked to the lowest rate of all-cause early mortality is rising, according to a study published in the May 10 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The analysis stacked BMI data against all-cause death statistics among three groups of Danish citizens: 13,704 enrolled in a heart study during the mid-1970s; 9,482 enrolled in the same study in the early 1990s; and 97,362 who were enrolled in a lifestyle study between 2003 and 2013.

In addition to obesity-related early death risk dropping to normal-weight levels, the researchers found that the BMI level linked to the lowest rate of all-cause early death had gone up by more than three units, rising from 23.7 kg/m² in the 1970s to 27 kg/m² in 2013.

"But we don't know what's cause and what's effect. And we only looked at the hardest end point, which is longevity, not quality of life," Borge Nordestgaard, M.D., a clinical professor with the Institute of Clinical Medicine at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, told HealthDay. "And in the United States, of course, obesity is often far in excess of a 27 kg/m² BMI."

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