Changes in body weight over life

Friday 25 September, 2020

Another recent study using Health 2020 data analysed the association between obesity (as measured by Body Mass Index, BMI for short), and the risk of death. The researchers compared adults who had a healthy BMI in their early 20s and maintained a healthy BMI, with those who started with a healthy BMI but became overweight or obese as they aged.

The researchers found that the greater the increase in BMI, the higher the risk of obesity-related cancers, so that, relative to those who maintained a healthy weight, those who became overweight by middle-age were 30% more likely to develop one of these cancers, while those who became obese were 50% more likely.

These findings highlight the importance of weight management throughout adult life. The researchers conclude that, since obesity is already a major health issue and will likely increase for future generations, policies and prevention programmes are needed to target weight management starting early in life.


Yang Y et al. Trajectories of body mass index in adulthood and all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study. BMJ Open. 2019 Aug 10;9(8):e030078