Estimating deaths attributable to obesity in the United States

Am J Public Health. 2004 Sep;94(9):1486-9. doi: 10.2105/ajph.94.9.1486.


Estimates of deaths attributable to obesity in the United States rely on estimates from epidemiological cohorts of the relative risk of mortality associated with obesity. However, these relative risk estimates are not necessarily appropriate for the total US population, in part because of exclusions to control for baseline health status and exclusion or underrepresentation of older adults. Most deaths occur among older adults; estimates of deaths attributable to obesity can vary widely depending on the assumptions about the relative risks of mortality associated with obesity among the elderly. Thus, it may be difficult to estimate deaths attributable to obesity with adequate accuracy and precision. We urge efforts to improve the data and methods for estimating this statistic.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bias
  • Cause of Death
  • Cohort Studies
  • Death Certificates*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / mortality*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Population Surveillance* / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Risk
  • United States / epidemiology