Obesity Science and Practice, 2021. [Online ahead of print]
Reges O, Dicker D, Lundegaard Haase C, Finer N, Karpati T, Leibowitz M, Satylganova A, Feldman B.
Previous studies using longitudinal weight data to characterize obesity are based on populations of limited size and mostly include individuals of all body mass index (BMI) levels, without focusing on weight changes among people with obesity. This study aimed to identify BMI trajectories over 5 years in a large population with obesity, and to determine the trajectories’ association with mortality.
For inclusion, individuals aged 30–74 years at index date (1 January 2013) with continuous membership in Clalit Health Services from 2008 to 2012 were required to have ≥1 BMI measurement per year in ≥3 calendar years during this period, of which at least one was ≥30 kg/m2. Latent class analysis was used to generate BMI trajectories over 5 years (2008–2012). Cox proportional hazards models were used to assess the association between BMI trajectories and all‐cause mortality during follow‐up (2013–2017).
In total, 367,141 individuals met all inclusion criteria. Mean age was 57.2 years; 41% were men. The optimal model was a quadratic model with four classes of BMI clusters. Most individuals (90.0%) had stable high BMI over time. Individuals in this cluster had significantly lower mortality than individuals in the other trajectory clusters (p < 0.01), including clusters of people with dynamic weight trajectories.
The results of the current study show that people with stable high weight had the lowest mortality of all four BMI trajectories identified. These findings help to expand the scientific understanding of the impact that weight trajectories have on health outcomes, while demonstrating the challenges of discerning the cumulative effects of obesity and weight change, and suggest that dynamic historical measures of BMI should be considered when assessing patients’ future risk of obesity‐related morbidity and mortality, and when choosing a treatment strategy.