Document Type

Marquette Only



Publication Date



American Public Health Association

Source Publication

American Journal of Public Health

Source ISSN



Objectives. This study examined whether body mass index (BMI) or change in BMI raises the risk of disability in adulthood.

Methods. The relation between BMI and upper- and lower-body disability was examined among adult subjects from a national longitudinal survey (n = 6833). Tobit regression models were used to examine the effect of BMI on disability 10 and 20 years later.

Results. Obesity (BMI ≥ 30) at baseline or becoming obese during the study was associated with higher levels of upper- and, especially, lower-body disability. In persons who began the study with a BMI of 30 or more and became normal weight, disability was not reduced. Underweight persons (BMI < 18.5) also manifested higher disability in most instances.

Conclusions. Disability risk was higher for obese persons, but overweight was not consistently associated with higher disability.


Accepted version. American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 92, No. 5 (May 2002): 834-840. DOI. © 2002 American Public Health Association. Used with permission.

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