Risk for multimorbidity is increased among individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 and higher (overweight and obesity status) compared with those with a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 (“normal weight), according to findings from a systematic review and meta-analysis published in Obesity Reviews.
Researchers searched publication databases through April 2022 for studies evaluating multimorbidity risk on the basis of weight status.
A total of 8 studies were included in the analysis, with all of them conducted in high-income countries. Individual studies included sample sizes ranging between 1066 and 114,657, had follow-up durations between 2 and 28 years, and considered at risk for 5 to 30 diseases.
During a mean follow-up of 12.1 years, obesity (relative risk [RR], 1.99; 95% CI, 1.45-2.72; I2=99%) and overweight status (RR, 1.26; 95% CI, 1.12-1.40; I2=98%) vs “normal” weight status was associated with increased risk for multimorbidity. In the combined analysis, overweight and obesity increased multimorbidity risk (RR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.28-1.93; I2=100%).
However, stratified by study duration, the increased risk associated with overweight (RR, 1.27; 95% CI, 0.96-1.66; I2=90%) and obesity (RR, 1.57; 95% CI, 0.98-2.50; I2=95%) status were attenuated in studies with fewer than 10 years of follow-up. In studies with longer follow-up durations, both overweight (RR, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.10-1.42; I2=98%) and obesity (RR, 2.28; 95% CI, 1.47-3.54; I2=99%) status were associated with increased multimorbidity risk.
The analysis was limited by the low number of available studies, which precluded the ability to perform subgroup analyses.
Authors of the review concluded, “This review should serve as a basis for new longitudinal studies to be conducted and to evaluate the risk of multimorbidity among people with overweight and obesity, including different populations.”
Delpino FM, Rodrigues APDS, Petarli GB, et al. Overweight, obesity and risk of multimorbidity: a systematic review and meta-analysis of longitudinal studies. Obes Rev. Published online March 16, 2023. doi:10.1111/obr.13562