Association Between Weight Amount and Cause of Death

Based on total follow-up, underweight was associated with a significantly increased mortality from noncancer, non-CVD(cardiovascular disease) causes (23,455 excess deaths) but not associated with cancer or CVD(cardiovascular disease) mortality. Overweight was associated with a significantly decreased mortality from noncancer, non-CVD causes but was not associated with cancer or CVD mortality.

Obesity was associated with a significantly increased mortality from CVD (112,159 excess deaths) but not associated with cancer mortality or with noncancer, non-CVD mortality. In further analyses, overweight and obesity combined were associated with increased mortality from diabetes and kidney disease (61,248 excess deaths) and decreased mortality from other noncancer, non-CVD causes. Obesity was associated with an increased mortality from cancers considered obesity-related (13,839 excess deaths) but not associated with mortality from other cancers. Comparisons across surveys suggested a possible decrease in the association of obesity with CVD mortality over time.

Overweight is not strongly associated with increased cancer or CVD(cardiovascular disease) risk, but may be associated with improved survival during recovery from adverse conditions, such as infections or medical procedures, and with improved prognosis for some diseases. Such findings may be due to greater nutritional reserves or higher lean body mass associated with overweight.