Individual and aggregate years-of-life-lost associated with overweight and obesity

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 Feb;18(2):333-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.253. Epub 2009 Aug 13.


This study presents nationally representative estimates of individual and aggregate years-of-life-lost (YLLs) associated with overweight and three categories of obesity separately by age, race, smoking status, and gender strata. Using proportional hazards analysis and data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) Linked Mortality Files, we estimated life expectancies for each BMI strata and quantified YLLs by comparing differences between each strata and the normal BMI reference group. Our results provide further evidence that overweight and mild obesity are not associated with a reduction in life expectancy. However, higher BMI categories are associated with lower expected survival. In aggregate, excess BMI is responsible for approximately 95 million YLLs. White females account for more than two-thirds of the aggregate YLLs. Unless something is done to reduce the rising prevalence of those with BMIs >35, or to mitigate the impact of obesity or its correlates on YLLs, expected life expectancy for US adults may decrease in the future.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Age Distribution
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cost of Illness*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy*
  • Life Tables
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / mortality*
  • Overweight / ethnology
  • Overweight / etiology
  • Overweight / mortality*
  • Prevalence
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking / adverse effects
  • Smoking / mortality
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult