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. 2014 Jan 8;9(1):e84817.
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084817. eCollection 2014.

Changes of Body Mass Index in Relation to Mortality: Results of a Cohort of 42,099 Adults

Free PMC article

Changes of Body Mass Index in Relation to Mortality: Results of a Cohort of 42,099 Adults

Jochen Klenk et al. PLoS One. .
Free PMC article


Background: High Body-Mass-Index (BMI) is associated with increased all-cause mortality, but little is known about the effect of short- and long-term BMI change on mortality. The aim of the study was to determine how long-term weight change affects mortality.

Methods and findings: Within a population-based prospective cohort of 42,099 Austrian men and women (mean age 43 years) with at least three BMI measurements we investigated the relationship of BMI at baseline and two subsequent BMI change intervals of five years each with all-cause mortality using Cox proportional Hazard models. During median follow-up of 12 years 4,119 deaths were identified. The lowest mortalities were found in persons with normal weight or overweight at baseline and stable BMI over 10 years. Weight gain (≥0.10 kg/m(2)/year) during the first five years was associated with increased mortality in overweight and obese people. For weight gain during both time intervals mortality risk remained significantly increased only in overweight (Hazard Ratio (HR): 1.39 (95% confidence interval: 1.01; 1.92)) and obese women (1.85 (95% confidence interval: 1.18; 2.89)). Weight loss (< -0.10 kg/m(2)/year) increased all-cause mortality in men and women consistently. BMI change over time assessed using accepted World Health Organisation BMI categories showed no increased mortality risk for people who remained in the normal or overweight category for all three measurements. In contrast, HRs for stable obese men and women were 1.57 (95% CI: 1.31; 1.87) and 1.46 (95% CI: 1.25; 1.71) respectively.

Conclusion: Our findings highlight the importance of weight stability and obesity avoidance in prevention strategy.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Time line of BMI assessments, BMI change intervals and subsequent follow up.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Effect of different patterns of BMI at t0, t5, and t10 on all cause-mortality among men and women in the VHM&PP Study Cohort 1985–2009.

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