Studies in Western populations report a J- or U-shaped relation between body mass index (BMI) and mortality. Individuals with extreme BMIs experience increased mortality.
However, little is known about populations in developing countries, where nutritional status is lower.
| Age and education are strongly associated with mortality.|
|American Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
In this study, researchers from London, England, examined the association between BMI and mortality in Bangladeshi women.
They research team followed a cohort of 1888 rural Bangladeshi women for over 19 years.
They collected information on height, weight, arm circumference, fertility, and socioeconomic status, between 1975 and 1979.
In addition, mortality, loss-to-follow-up, and additional socioeconomic data were identified by the demographic surveillance system of the International Centre for Health and Population Research, Bangladesh.
The team used proportional hazards regression was used to examine the relation between BMI and all-cause mortality.
The researchers found that the association between BMI and mortality was reverse J-shaped.
They also found that, after adjustment for socioeconomic indicators, the risk of dying was highest in women with BMIs in the lowest 10% of the decile distribution, and lowest in women with intermediate BMIs.
However, women with BMIs in the highest 10% of the distribution had slightly elevated mortality, compared with those with intermediate BMIs.
The team determined that age and education were strongly associated with mortality. The women without schooling had a risk of mortality 4 times that of women with 1 year of schooling.
Drs Victoria Hosegood and Oona Campbell concluded, “A woman’s BMI relative to the BMI distribution in the local population may be a better predictor of mortality than is absolute BMI”.
“The contribution of education in reducing mortality supports development programs aimed at increasing women’s education”.