Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: The relevance of body mass index (BMI) to cause-specific mortality in old age is uncertain. OBJECTIVES: To examine cause-specific 5 year mortality in old age by BMI in old age and middle age (40-69 years). METHODS: Cox proportional hazards for mortality rates among 4862 former male civil servants in relation to quartiles of BMI measured when screened in 1968-70 and when resurveyed in 1997-98 (median age 76 years). RESULTS: The association between all-cause mortality after resurvey and BMI in old age was U-shaped with hazard ratios (HRs) of 1.3 (95% CI 1.1-1.5) for the lightest and heaviest categories relative to the middle two. Among 'healthy' men the lightest (<22.7 kg/m2) had greatest all-cause mortality. The heaviest men (>26.6 kg/m2) had increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality in the first two years or for the whole period if never-smokers. Respiratory mortality was inversely associated with BMI in old age [adjusted HR for trend per BMI category increase 0.6 (0.5-0.7)] but cancer mortality lacked a clear pattern. Net gain or loss of 10 kg or more between middle and old age was a strong predictor of all-cause and CVD mortality. CONCLUSIONS: The shape of the association between BMI in old age and mortality differs by cause of death. Major weight change over time is a warning signal for higher CVD mortality. Having BMI<22.7 kg/m2 in old age is associated with above-average mortality rates even if apparently healthy.

Original publication

DOI

10.1093/ije/dyi212

Type

Journal article

Journal

Int J Epidemiol

Publication Date

02/2006

Volume

35

Pages

169 - 178

Keywords

Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Aging, Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Diseases, Cause of Death, England, Follow-Up Studies, Government, Health Surveys, Humans, Lung Diseases, Male, Middle Aged, Nutritional Status, Proportional Hazards Models, Prospective Studies, Thinness