Height with Age Affects Body Mass Index (BMI) Assessment of Chronic Disease Risk

Peter R. Holt, Osama Altayar, David H. Alpers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Body mass index (BMI) is a function of weight and height, but changing height has not been emphasized. Using the Framingham Heart Study with 5 decades of data on anthropomorphic measurements and disease states, changing height with age was extracted, and BMI was calculated using current and “young” height (calculated as height at age < 40 years). Decreased height began at age 40, with a mean loss from ages 40 to 80 of 4.8 cm for women and 3.6 cm for men. Using cutoff values of 25 and 30 for overweight and obesity, ~12.5% of women and ~10% of men were misclassified. Comparable figures for obesity classification were ~10 and 8%. At age 70, ~20% of women and ~15% of men were misclassified. Using the BMI corrected to “young” height, obese subjects had an increased risk for developing pre-diabetes and diabetes, with a higher risk for women than men. Using corrected BMI, obese subjects had a higher risk for developing hypertension, lower than for diabetes and higher for men than for women. These data do not establish whether the increased disease risk is clinically important but demonstrate that there is an advantage to using BMI corrected for “young” height when compared with BMI using current age-related height.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4694
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • BMI
  • age
  • disease risk
  • height
  • obesity


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