Prospective cohort study of body mass index and the risk of hospitalisation: findings from 246 361 participants in the 45 and Up Study

Korda, R J; Liu, B; Clements, M S; Bauman, A E; Jorm, L R; Bambrick, H J; Banks, E
June 2013
International Journal of Obesity;Jun2013, Vol. 37 Issue 6, p790
Academic Journal
Objective:To quantify the risk of hospital admission in relation to fine increments in body mass index (BMI).Design, setting and participants:Population-based prospective cohort study of 246 361 individuals aged 45 years, from New South Wales, Australia, recruited from 2006-2009. Self-reported data on BMI and potential confounding/mediating factors were linked to hospital admission and death data.Main outcomes:Cox-models were used to estimate the relative risk (RR) of incident all-cause and diagnosis-specific hospital admission (excluding same day) in relation to BMI.Results:There were 61 583 incident hospitalisations over 479 769 person-years (py) of observation. In men, hospitalisation rates were lowest for BMI 20-<25 kg m−2 (age-standardised rate:120/1000 py) and in women for BMI 18.5-<25 kg m−2 (102/1000 py); above these levels, rates increased steadily with increasing BMI; rates were 203 and 183/1000 py, for men and women with BMI 35-50 kg m−2, respectively. This pattern was observed regardless of baseline health status, smoking status and physical activity levels. After adjustment, the RRs (95% confidence interval) per 1 kg m−2 increase in BMI from 20 kg m−2 were 1.04(1.03-1.04) for men and 1.04(1.04-1.05) for women aged 45-64; corresponding RRs for ages 65-79 were 1.03(1.02-1.03) and 1.03(1.03-1.04); and for ages 80 years, 1.01(1.00-1.01) and 1.01(1.01-1.02). Hospitalisation risks were elevated for a large range of diagnoses, including a number of circulatory, digestive, musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases, while being protective for just two-fracture and hernia.Conclusions:Above normal BMI, the RR of hospitalisation increases with even small increases in BMI, less so in the elderly. Even a small downward shift in BMI, among those who are overweight not just those who are obese, could result in a substantial reduction in the risk of hospitalisation.


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