Delayed effects of obese and overweight population conditions on all-cause adult mortality rate in the USA


Currently, there are few studies separating the linkage of pathological obese and overweight body mass indices (BMIs) to the all-cause mortality rate in adults. Consequently, this paper, using annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data of the 50 US states and the District of Columbia, estimates empirical regression models linking the US adult overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30) and obesity (BMI ≥ 30) rates to the all-cause deaths rate. The biochemistry of multi-period cumulative adiposity (saturated fatty acid) from unexpended caloric intakes (net energy storage) provides the natural theoretical foundation for tracing unhealthy BMI to all-cause mortality. Cross-sectional and panel data regression models are separately estimated for the delayed effects of obese and overweight BMIs on the all-cause mortality rate. Controlling for the independent effects of economic, socio-demographic, and other factors on the all-cause mortality rate, our findings confirm that the estimated panel data models are more appropriate. The panel data regression results reveal that the obesity-mortality link strengthens significantly after multiple years in the condition. The faster mortality response to obesity detected here is conjectured to arise from the significantly more obese. Compared with past studies postulating a static (rather than delayed) effects, the statistically significant lagged effects of adult population BMI pathology in this study are novel and insightful. And, as expected, these lagged effects are more severe in the obese than overweight population segment. Public health policy implications of this social science study findings agree with those of the clinical sciences literature advocating timely lifestyle modification interventions (e.g., smoking cessation) to slow premature mortality linked with unhealthy BMIs.

Publication Title

Frontiers in Public Health