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Concept: Body mass index


 To determine whether height and body mass index (BMI) have a causal role in five measures of socioeconomic status.

Concepts: Mass, Sociology, Industrial Revolution, Body mass index, United Kingdom, UK Biobank


Two decades of research indicate causal associations between social relationships and mortality, but important questions remain as to how social relationships affect health, when effects emerge, and how long they last. Drawing on data from four nationally representative longitudinal samples of the US population, we implemented an innovative life course design to assess the prospective association of both structural and functional dimensions of social relationships (social integration, social support, and social strain) with objectively measured biomarkers of physical health (C-reactive protein, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, waist circumference, and body mass index) within each life stage, including adolescence and young, middle, and late adulthood, and compare such associations across life stages. We found that a higher degree of social integration was associated with lower risk of physiological dysregulation in a dose-response manner in both early and later life. Conversely, lack of social connections was associated with vastly elevated risk in specific life stages. For example, social isolation increased the risk of inflammation by the same magnitude as physical inactivity in adolescence, and the effect of social isolation on hypertension exceeded that of clinical risk factors such as diabetes in old age. Analyses of multiple dimensions of social relationships within multiple samples across the life course produced consistent and robust associations with health. Physiological impacts of structural and functional dimensions of social relationships emerge uniquely in adolescence and midlife and persist into old age.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Hypertension, Obesity, Blood pressure, Sociology, Body mass index, Old age, Vector space


Weight discrimination is prevalent in American society. Although associated consistently with psychological and economic outcomes, less is known about whether weight discrimination is associated with longitudinal changes in obesity. The objectives of this research are (1) to test whether weight discrimination is associated with risk of becoming obese (Body Mass Index≥30; BMI) by follow-up among those not obese at baseline, and (2) to test whether weight discrimination is associated with risk of remaining obese at follow-up among those already obese at baseline. Participants were drawn from the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of community-dwelling US residents. A total of 6,157 participants (58.6% female) completed the discrimination measure and had weight and height available from the 2006 and 2010 assessments. Participants who experienced weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to become obese by follow-up (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.58-4.08) and participants who were obese at baseline were three times more likely to remain obese at follow up (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 2.06-4.97) than those who had not experienced such discrimination. These effects held when controlling for demographic factors (age, sex, ethnicity, education) and when baseline BMI was included as a covariate. These effects were also specific to weight discrimination; other forms of discrimination (e.g., sex, race) were unrelated to risk of obesity at follow-up. The present research demonstrates that, in addition to poorer mental health outcomes, weight discrimination has implications for obesity. Rather than motivating individuals to lose weight, weight discrimination increases risk for obesity.

Concepts: Psychology, Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Weight loss, Bariatric surgery


Variation in the human fecal microbiota has previously been associated with body mass index (BMI). Although obesity is a global health burden, the accumulation of abdominal visceral fat is the specific cardio-metabolic disease risk factor. Here, we explore links between the fecal microbiota and abdominal adiposity using body composition as measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in a large sample of twins from the TwinsUK cohort, comparing fecal 16S rRNA diversity profiles with six adiposity measures.

Concepts: Cancer, Nutrition, Obesity, Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, Body mass index, 16S ribosomal RNA, Abdomen, Body shape


Background Long-term results from randomized, controlled trials that compare medical therapy with surgical therapy in patients with type 2 diabetes are limited. Methods We assessed outcomes 5 years after 150 patients who had type 2 diabetes and a body-mass index (BMI; the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) of 27 to 43 were randomly assigned to receive intensive medical therapy alone or intensive medical therapy plus Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or sleeve gastrectomy. The primary outcome was a glycated hemoglobin level of 6.0% or less with or without the use of diabetes medications. Results Of the 150 patients who underwent randomization, 1 patient died during the 5-year follow-up period; 134 of the remaining 149 patients (90%) completed 5 years of follow-up. At baseline, the mean (±SD) age of the 134 patients was 49±8 years, 66% were women, the mean glycated hemoglobin level was 9.2±1.5%, and the mean BMI was 37±3.5. At 5 years, the criterion for the primary end point was met by 2 of 38 patients (5%) who received medical therapy alone, as compared with 14 of 49 patients (29%) who underwent gastric bypass (unadjusted P=0.01, adjusted P=0.03, P=0.08 in the intention-to-treat analysis) and 11 of 47 patients (23%) who underwent sleeve gastrectomy (unadjusted P=0.03, adjusted P=0.07, P=0.17 in the intention-to-treat analysis). Patients who underwent surgical procedures had a greater mean percentage reduction from baseline in glycated hemoglobin level than did patients who received medical therapy alone (2.1% vs. 0.3%, P=0.003). At 5 years, changes from baseline observed in the gastric-bypass and sleeve-gastrectomy groups were superior to the changes seen in the medical-therapy group with respect to body weight (-23%, -19%, and -5% in the gastric-bypass, sleeve-gastrectomy, and medical-therapy groups, respectively), triglyceride level (-40%, -29%, and -8%), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol level (32%, 30%, and 7%), use of insulin (-35%, -34%, and -13%), and quality-of-life measures (general health score increases of 17, 16, and 0.3; scores on the RAND 36-Item Health Survey ranged from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating better health) (P<0.05 for all comparisons). No major late surgical complications were reported except for one reoperation. Conclusions Five-year outcome data showed that, among patients with type 2 diabetes and a BMI of 27 to 43, bariatric surgery plus intensive medical therapy was more effective than intensive medical therapy alone in decreasing, or in some cases resolving, hyperglycemia. (Funded by Ethicon Endo-Surgery and others; STAMPEDE number, NCT00432809 .).

Concepts: Medicine, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Surgery, Body mass index, Bariatric surgery, Gastric bypass surgery, Bariatrics


 To conduct a systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies of body mass index (BMI) and the risk of all cause mortality, and to clarify the shape and the nadir of the dose-response curve, and the influence on the results of confounding from smoking, weight loss associated with disease, and preclinical disease.

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Death, Demography, Obesity, Actuarial science, Mass, Body mass index


Newborn telomere length sets telomere length for later life. At birth, telomere length is highly variable among newborns and the environmental factors during in utero life for this observation remain largely unidentified. Obesity during pregnancy might reflect an adverse nutritional status affecting pregnancy and offspring outcomes, but the association of maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) with newborn telomere length, as a mechanism of maternal obesity, on the next generation has not been addressed.

Concepts: Childbirth, Infant, Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Breastfeeding, Body mass index, Star Trek: The Next Generation


Obesity, typically quantified in terms of Body Mass Index (BMI) exceeding threshold values, is considered a leading cause of premature death worldwide. For given body size (BMI), it is recognized that risk is also affected by body shape, particularly as a marker of abdominal fat deposits. Waist circumference (WC) is used as a risk indicator supplementary to BMI, but the high correlation of WC with BMI makes it hard to isolate the added value of WC.

Concepts: Death, Obesity, Overweight, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Value added, Waist-hip ratio, Body shape


Background:Short sleep and weight gain are inversely related. Sleep deprivation acutely increases food intake but little is known about eating behavior in chronically sleep-deprived, obese individuals.Objective:To characterize the relationship between sleep, food intake and alcohol consumption under free-living conditions in obese, chronically sleep-deprived individuals.Design:Cross-sectional study of a cohort of obese men and premenopausal women.Subjects:A total of 118 obese subjects (age: 40.3±6.7 years; 91 females/27 males; body mass index 38.7±6.4 kg m(-2)).Measurements:Energy, macronutrient, alcohol and caffeine intake assessed by 3-day food records. Sleep duration estimated by actigraphy. Respiratory disturbance index assessed by a portable device.Results:Subjects slept 360.7±50.2 min per night and had a total energy intake of 2279.1±689 kcal per day. Sleep duration and energy intake were inversely related (r=-0.230, P=0.015). By extrapolation, each 30-min deficit per day in sleep duration would translate to an ∼83 kcal per day increase in energy intake. In addition, sleep apnea was associated with a shift from carbohydrate to fat intake. Alcohol intake in subjects consuming >3.5 g of alcohol per day (N=41) was inversely related to sleep duration (r=-0.472, P=0.002).Conclusions:Shorter sleep duration and obstructive sleep apnea are associated with higher energy, fat and alcohol intakes in obese individuals. The importance of this study relies on the population studied, obese subjects with chronic sleep deprivation. These novel findings apply to the large segment of the US population who are obese and sleep-deprived.

Concepts: Nutrition, Obesity, Mass, Sleep, Sleep deprivation, Body mass index, Sleep apnea, Obstructive sleep apnea


There is increasing interest in discovering mechanisms that mediate the effects of childhood stress on late-life disease morbidity and mortality. Previous studies have suggested one potential mechanism linking stress to cellular aging, disease and mortality in humans: telomere erosion. We examined telomere erosion in relation to children’s exposure to violence, a salient early-life stressor, which has known long-term consequences for well-being and is a major public-health and social-welfare problem. In the first prospective-longitudinal study with repeated telomere measurements in children while they experienced stress, we tested the hypothesis that childhood violence exposure would accelerate telomere erosion from age 5 to age 10 years. Violence was assessed as exposure to maternal domestic violence, frequent bullying victimization and physical maltreatment by an adult. Participants were 236 children (49% females; 42% with one or more violence exposures) recruited from the Environmental-Risk Longitudinal Twin Study, a nationally representative 1994-1995 birth cohort. Each child’s mean relative telomere length was measured simultaneously in baseline and follow-up DNA samples, using the quantitative PCR method for T/S ratio (the ratio of telomere repeat copy numbers to single-copy gene numbers). Compared with their counterparts, the children who experienced two or more kinds of violence exposure showed significantly more telomere erosion between age-5 baseline and age-10 follow-up measurements, even after adjusting for sex, socioeconomic status and body mass index (B=-0.052, s.e.=0.021, P=0.015). This finding provides support for a mechanism linking cumulative childhood stress to telomere maintenance, observed already at a young age, with potential impact for life-long health.

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, Senescence, Sociology, Body mass index, Ratio, Telomere, Abuse