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Validating a summary measure of weight history for modeling the health consequences of obesity
  • Published Date:
    Oct 26 2016
  • Source:
    Ann Epidemiol. 26(12):821-826.e2.
Filetype[PDF-317.16 KB]

  • Pubmed ID:
  • Pubmed Central ID:
  • Description:

    Data on weight history may enhance the predictive validity of epidemiological models of the health risks of obesity but collecting such data is often not feasible. In this study, we investigate the validity of a summary measure of weight history.


    We evaluated the quality of reporting of maximum weight in a sample of adults ages 50-84 using data from the Health and Retirement Study. Recalled max body mass index (BMI, measured in kg/m2) based on recalled weight in 2004 was compared to calculated max BMI based on self-reported weight collected biennially between 1992 and 2004. Logistic regression was used to assess similarity between the measures in predicting prevalent conditions.


    The correlation coefficient between recalled and calculated max weight in the overall sample was 0.95. Recalled max BMI value was within 3 BMI units of the calculated value 91.4% of the time. The proportion of individuals obese I (BMI 30.0-34.9), obese II (35.0-39.9) and obese III (40.0 and above) were 28.8%, 12.7% and 6.6% using recalled values compared to 27.1%, 10.5% and 4.9% using calculated values. In multivariate analyses, the two BMI measures similarly predicted disease prevalence across a number of chronic conditions.


    Recalled max BMI was strongly correlated with max BMI calculated over the twelve year period prior to recall, suggesting that this measure can serve as a reliable summary measure of recent weight status.

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  • Collection(s):
  • Funding:
    R01 AG040212/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    R03 SH000037/SH/NCHS CDC HHS/United States
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