Rising prevalence of BMI ≥40kg/m2: a high-demand epidemic needing better documentation

Williamson, K. , Nimegeer, A. and Lean, M. (2020) Rising prevalence of BMI ≥40kg/m2: a high-demand epidemic needing better documentation. Obesity Reviews, 21(4), e12986. (doi: 10.1111/obr.12986) (PMID:32017386) (PMCID:PMC7078951)

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Whilst previously rare, some surveys indicate substantial increases in the population with body mass index (BMI) ≥40 kg/m2 since the 1980s. Clinicians report emerging care challenges for this population, often with high resource demands. Accurate prevalence data, gathered using reliable methods, are needed to inform health care practice, planning, and research. We searched digitally for English language sources with measured prevalence data on adult BMI ≥40 collected since 2010. The search strategy included sources identified from recent work by NCD‐RisC (2017), grey sources, a literature search to find current sources, and digital snowball searching. Eighteen countries, across five continents, reported BMI ≥40 prevalence data in surveys since 2010: 12% of eligible national surveys examined. Prevalence of BMI ≥40 ranged from 1.3% (Spain) to 7.7% (USA) for all adults, 0.7% (Serbia) to 5.6% (USA) for men, and 1.8% (Poland) to 9.7% (USA) for women. Limited trend data covering recent decades support significant growth of BMI ≥40 population. Methodological limitations include small samples and data collection methods likely to exclude people with very high BMIs. BMI ≥40 data are not routinely reported in international surveys. Lack of data impairs surveillance of population trends, understanding of causation, and societal provision for individuals living with higher weights.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nimegeer, Dr Amy and Lean, Professor Michael and Williamson, Kath
Authors: Williamson, K., Nimegeer, A., and Lean, M.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Medicine, Dentistry & Nursing
Journal Name:Obesity Reviews
ISSN (Online):1467-789X
Published Online:04 February 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in Obesity Reviews 21(4): e12986
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
Chief Scientist Office (CSO)SPHSU15
727671SPHSU Core Renewal: Informing Healthy Public Policy Research ProgrammePeter CraigMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/15IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU