November 11, 2013
1 min read

WHI: Obesity increased risk for death, disease, disability by age 85 years

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Women with a waist circumference larger than 88 cm and those who are obese have a greater risk for death, major chronic disease and mobility disability before age 85 years, according to data from the Women’s Health Initiative.

Eileen Rillamas-Sun, PhD, MPH, of the Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues examined 36,611 women from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) observational study and clinical trial programs who could live to 85 years by the final outcomes evaluation date in September 2012.

According to data, all patients (baseline age, 72.4 years) were classified into the following outcomes:

  • Healthy — survived without major chronic disease and without mobility disability (19%);
  • Prevalent diseased — survived with one or more major chronic disease at baseline but without new disease or disability (14.7%);
  • Incident diseased — survived and developed one or more major chronic disease but not disability during study follow-up (23.2%);
  • Disabled — survived and developed mobility disability with or without disease (18.3%); and
  • Died (24.8%).

Underweight and obese women were more likely to die before age 85 years, according to data. Overweight and obese women demonstrated greater risks for incident disease and mobility disability, researchers wrote.

Data indicate greater risks for mobility disability (OR=1.6; 95% CI, 1.5-1.8) among overweight women and obesity class I (OR=3.2; 95% CI, 2.9-3.6), class II (OR=6.6; 95% CI, 5.4-8.1) or class III (OR=6.7; 95% CI, 4.8-9.2), compared with healthy-weight women.

The risk for developing an incident disease (OR=1.5; 95% CI, 1.3-1.6) or a mobility disability (OR=1.7; 95% CI, 1.5-1.8) among women with a baseline waist circumference greater than 88 cm was higher compared with women with a baseline waist circumference of 88 cm or less, according to data.

“The risk of death before 85 years of age was also higher among women with a [waist circumference] greater than 88 cm at baseline relative to women with a [waist circumference] of 88 cm or less at baseline,” researchers wrote.  

The researchers wrote that future strategies should focus on healthy body weight maintenance in obese patients.

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.