22 Oct 2012

Extra weight linked to higher risk of hospitalisation

3:15 pm on 22 October 2012

An Australian study says heavier people are more likely than lean ones to be hospitalised for a variety of conditions, regardless of lifestyle and other health-related factors.

The research, published in the International Journal of Obesity says this is the case not just for obese people, but also for those who were merely overweight.

Among middle-aged adults, researchers found that every extra body mass index (BMI) point - equal to between 2.7kg and 3.2kg - was tied to a 4% higher chance of being admitted to the hospital over a two-year period.

The researchers recruited close to 250,000 people aged 45 and above from New South Wales, Reuters reports.

After surveying them about their height, weight and other health and lifestyle issues, researchers tracked participants through hospital data.

Over the next two years, they had more than 61,000 total hospitalisations lasting at least one night.

The research team found that among people considered in the normal range for BMI, there were 120 hospitalisations for every 1000 men and 102 per 1000 women each year. For those considered severely obese, there were 203 hospitalisations for every 1000 men and 183 per 1000 women, on average.

Overweight and moderately obese people had hospitalisation rates somewhere in between.

A BMI of 25 to 30 is classified as overweight, while obese is from 30 on up.

That pattern held up even after taking into account whether participants smoked, how physically active they were and their general health at the start of the study.