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Medicine and Public Policy |

Body Weight, Health, and Longevity

[+] Article, Author, and Disclosure Information

This article is based on the proceedings of a workshop held on 24 to 26 January 1982 at the Linden Hill Hotel, Bethesda, Maryland, sponsored by the Nutrition Coordinating Committee of the National Institutes of Health; and the Centers for Disease Control. Participants in the workshop were Sidney Abraham; Reubin Andres, M.D.; John K. Davidson, III, M.D.; William DeWys, M.D.; Karen A. Donato; Nancy D. Ernst; A. Roberto Frisancho, Ph.D.; Robert J. Garrison; Gilman D. Grave, M.D.; Edward A. Lew; Joseph L. Lyon, M.D.; Thomas E. Malone, Ph.D.; Maria A. Mannarino, M.D.; Howard M. McCue, Jr., M.D.; Elizabeth A. McGuire, Ph.D.; Albert I. Mendeloff, M.D.; Milton Z. Nichaman, M.D., D.Sc.; Alex Roche, M.D.; Frederic Seltzer; Reuel A. Stallones, M.D.; and Thomas P. Vogl, Ph.D.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to Artemis P. Simopoulos, M.D.; Nutrition Coordinating Committee, Building 31, Room 4B59, National Institutes of Health; Bethesda, MD 20205.

Bethesda, Maryland; and New York, New York

Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(2):285-295. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-2-285
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In the United States, the weight associated with the greatest longevity tends to be below the average weight of the population under consideration, if such weights are not associated with a history of significant medical impairment. Overweight persons tend to die sooner than average-weight persons, especially those who are overweight at younger ages. The effect of being overweight on mortality is delayed and may not be seen in short-term studies. Cigarette smoking is a potential confounder of the relationship between obesity and mortality. Studies on body weight, morbidity, and mortality must be interpreted with careful attention to the definitions of obesity or relative weight used, preexisting morbid conditions, the length of follow-up, and confounders in the analysis. The terminology of body weight standards should be defined more precisely and cited appropriately. An appropriate database relating body weight by sex, age, and possibly frame size to morbidity and mortality should be developed to permit the preparation of reference tables for defining the desirable range of body weight based on morbidity and mortality statistics.







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