Change in height, weight, and body mass index: longitudinal data from Austria

Am J Hum Biol. 2014 Sep-Oct;26(5):690-6. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.22582. Epub 2014 Jun 25.


Objectives: To quantify changes in height, weight and their compound effect on the body mass index (BMI) in a large cohort of Central-European men and women.

Methods: The Vorarlberg health monitoring and prevention program (VHM&PP) is a population-based risk factor surveillance program in Vorarlberg. Data of health examinations during January 1985 to June 2005 were available including 714,181 height and weight measurements in 185,192 persons (53.9% women). We estimated yearly percentage change of anthropometric parameters over the age range from 20 to 85 years within intervals of 5 years.

Results: We found that weight increased until the age of 70 years (from the age of 20 years: +24.8% in men and +27.6% in women), with the highest increase in men aged 20-25 years (1.07% per year). Height was shown to decrease starting from the age group 45-50 years. This decrease accelerated with age, and was more pronounced in women than in men.

Conclusions: Weight is strongly related to aging. In older individuals height loss affects BMI and masks weight loss to some degree.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging*
  • Austria
  • Body Height*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Body Weight*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Weight Gain
  • Weight Loss
  • Young Adult