Body mass index and risk of death in Chinese population

March 7, 2011

Chinese people with a body mass index (BMI) of 24-25.9 had the lowest risk of death, according to a study published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Obesity has increased significantly across the globe and the (WHO) estimates that about 2.3 billion adults will be overweight and more than 700 million will be obese by 2015. Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risks of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases.

As white populations have served as the benchmark for definitions of overweight and obesity, the WHO has suggested a lower cut-off for overweight and obesity in Chinese populations.

This study, by researchers from Taiwan and the US, looked at 58 738 Chinese men and 65 718 women in Taiwan aged 20 or older to find the association between BMI and risk of death from any cause. They found that people with a BMI of less than 24 with a chronic disease were at higher risk than those without a chronic disease. Smokers with lower BMIs had a higher risk of death. People with a chronic disease and a higher BMI (above 30) had a lower risk of death.

The lowest risk of death was among men and women with a BMI of 24-25.9, compared with white populations in which the lowest risk has been reported among people with a BMI of 22.5-24.9.

"The risk of death was higher among people with BMIs in the lower and upper categories than among those with BMIs in the middle category," writes Dr. Wen-Yuan Lin, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, with coauthors.

"The findings from our primary analysis and sensitivity analyses are consistent with the results of [other] studies and do not support the use of a lower BMI cutoff value for overweight and obesity in the adult Chinese population," state the authors.

In a related commentary, Dr. Shankuan Zhu, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, and coauthors write "the findings in the study by Lin and colleagues are important because they seem to challenge the current definitions of overweight and obesity and are inconsistent with the pattern found in white populations and for the relation between BMI and , in particular cardiovascular diseases."

Explore further: Obesity risks increase after menopause

Related Stories

Obesity risks increase after menopause

October 25, 2007

Postmenopausal women are at an age when the incidence and exacerbation of the chronic health conditions associated with obesity become more prevalent. A new article published in Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal ...

Being overweight just as risky to health as being a smoker

February 25, 2009

Obese adolescents have the same risk of premature death in adulthood as people who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day, while those who are overweight have the same risk as less heavy smokers, according to research published ...

Be overweight and live longer

October 16, 2009

Contrary to what was previously assumed, overweight is not increasing the overall death rate in the German population.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Mar 09, 2011
Or, more logical, the numbers over here are wrong. In fact they are wrong. The obesity paradox does exist. It exists because weighter people refuse to die earlier then their skinnier counterparts. The 'safe' range of BMI is 20-32.

Sourced article available but linking here is a direct route to the spampit, so google: the disease fat does not exist
to see the material supporting it.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.