Trends in the skewness of the body mass index distribution among urban Australian adults, 1980 to 2007

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Abstract

Purpose: We analyzed the changes in the body mass index (BMI) distribution for urban Australian adults between 1980 and2007. Methods: We used data from participants of six consecutive Australian nation-wide surveys with measured weight and height between 1980 and 2007. We used quantile regression to estimate mean BMI (for percentiles of BMI) and prevalence of severe obesity, modeled by natural splines in age, date of birth, and survey date. Results: Since 1980, the right skew in the BMI distribution for Australian adults has increased greatly for men and women, driven by increases in skew associated with age and birth cohort/period. Between 1980 and 2007, the average 5-year increase in BMI was 1 kg/m2 (0.8) for the 95th percentile of BMI in women (men). The increase in the median was about a third of this, and for the 10th percentile, a fifth of this. We estimated that for the cohort born in 1960 around 31% of men and women were obese by age 50 years compared with 11% of the 1930 birth cohort. Conclusions: There have been large increases in the right skew of the BMI distribution for urban Australian adults between 1980 and 2007, and birth cohort effects suggests similar increases are likely to continue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Epidemiology
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body mass index
  • Obesity
  • Trends

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