Trends in Obesity-Free Life Expectancy in the United States 1995-2005: Gender and Racial Differences and Alternative Categorizations

Li-Chung Hu, University of Pennsylvania

Obesity is a major public health issue in the U.S., and has been linked to increased risks for health outcomes and mortality. This paper defines health as “obesity free” to examine trends in obesity-free life expectancy (OFLE) across gender and race from 1995 to 2005 in the U.S. Specifically, this paper will investigation the changes in OFLE by gender and race from 1995 to 2005. Additionally, alternatively criteria of Body Mass Index (BMI) for measuring obesity across gender and race will be used to examine the sensitivity of conventional BMI criteria. The results show that OFLE has decreasing about 2.7 years for males and 4.3 years for females from 1995 to 2005. In addition, the patterns of gender and racial differences show change as different criteria for measuring obesity are applied, which indicates applying monotonic criteria across gender and race leads to inaccurate estimation of the prevalence and severity of obesity in the U.S.

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Presented in Session 63: Fatal and Non-Fatal Health Outcomes: Comparing Expected Length and Quality of Life by Gender, Race, and National Origin