Washington: Obesity is the fifth leading cause of death in the world and defining it is not simple.
Body mass index relies on a complicated formula, and a high BMI might not accurately reflect someone’s risk of death.
But, a new research hopes to simplify and clarify the risk someone runs from being obese.
Obesity expert David B. Allison, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health, and scientists from the University of Alberta studied the Edmonton Obesity Staging System, a five-stage scale (0-4) that considers BMI, other illnesses and functional status of people who are obese to rank the consequences of excess weight.
The investigators reported that using the EOSS could be a way for physicians to reliably predict an overweight or obese patient’s risk for death and the degree to which they require medical care.
The researchers studied data from the U.S. National Health and Human Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988-1994, and 1999-2004, with mortality follow-up through the end of 2006.
“We found people in more severe stages of obesity are more likely to die earlier than those in less severe stages of obesity,” said Allison.
“The powerful predictability of the EOSS bodes well for the future use of this system,” said Allison.
“Most importantly, it shows that EOSS can potentially lead to differential treatment decisions, which in turn may lead to better outcomes,” added Allison.
Allison believes that because higher EOSS scores were a strong predictor of increased death rates, they could eventually lead to a clearer determination of medical coverage for patients, with a more evidence-based and effective classification system.
“I think it’s plausible that this system or something similar will be put into place to better determine who needs priority in receiving obesity treatment,” said Allison.