Projection of Adult Obesity Trends Based on Individual BMI Trajectories

Nicolas Todd , MPIDR
Mikko Myrskylä, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research and London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Adult obesity has been increasing in the United States since the 1980s. Combining both observed weight histories of young cohorts and knowledge on age-related weight gain acquired on older cohorts can yield realistic projections of the future burden of obesity. We pooled 69,531 body-mass index (BMI) measures from 20,225 adults interviewed during the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. We applied a functional data analysis technique to reconstruct individual BMI trajectories in order to investigate the future evolution of obesity and severe obesity prevalence at 50 as well as the average time spent obese and severely obese between 25 and 50. Preliminary results revealed that obesity prevalence at age 50 can be expected to plateau at around 50% for cohorts today aged 25. This reassuring result masks contrasting evolutions in ethnic subgroups as well as an increase in the proportion of severe forms of obesity among those obese at 50.

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 Presented in Session 84. Obesity: Trends, Causes, Consequences