Original Research Article
The trend of mean BMI values of US adults, birth cohorts 1882–1986 indicates that the obesity epidemic began earlier than hitherto thought
Article first published online: 10 MAY 2010
Copyright © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Human Biology
Volume 22, Issue 5, pages 631–638, September/October 2010
How to Cite
Komlos, J. and Brabec, M. (2010), The trend of mean BMI values of US adults, birth cohorts 1882–1986 indicates that the obesity epidemic began earlier than hitherto thought. Am. J. Hum. Biol., 22: 631–638. doi: 10.1002/ajhb.21055
- Issue published online: 19 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 10 MAY 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 4 MAR 2010
- Manuscript Received: 18 OCT 2009
- Institutional Research Plan of the Czech Republic (Computer Science for the Information Society: Models, Algorithms, Applications). Grant Number: AV0Z10300504
The trend in the body mass index (BMI) values of the US population has not been estimated accurately because the time series data are unavailable and the focus has been on calculating period effects.
To estimate the trend and rate of change of BMI values by birth cohorts stratified by gender and ethnicity born 1882–1986.
We use loess additive regression models to estimate age and trend effects of BMI values of US-born black and white adults measured between 1959 and 2006. We use all the National Health Examination Survey and National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data.
The increase in BMI was already underway among the birth cohorts of the early 20th century. The rate of increase was fastest among black females; for the three other groups under consideration, the rates of increase were similar. The generally persistent upward trend was punctuated by upsurges, particularly after each of the two world wars. The estimated rate of change of BMI values increased by 71% among black females between the birth cohorts 1955 and those of 1965 is indicative of the rapid increases in their weight.
We infer that transition to postindustrial weights was a gradual process and began considerably earlier than hitherto supposed. Am. J. Hum. Biol. 22:631–638, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.