How smoking affects the proportion of deaths attributable to obesity: assessing the role of relative risks and weight distributions

TitleHow smoking affects the proportion of deaths attributable to obesity: assessing the role of relative risks and weight distributions
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsStokes, Andrew, and Samuel H. Preston
JournalBMJ Open
Volume6
Paginatione009232
ISBN Number2044-6055 (Electronic)
Accession NumberPMID: 26916688
AbstractObjective Although ever-smokers make up the majority of the older adult population in the USA, they are often excluded from studies examining the impact of obesity on mortality. Understanding how smoking and obesity interact is critical to assessing the proportion of deaths attributable to obesity.Setting Nationally representative sample of the non-institutionalised population of the USA. Baseline data were drawn from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988–1994 and 1999–2004.Participants US adults aged 50–74 (n=9835).Primary outcome measure We used Cox models to estimate the mortality risks of obesity by smoking status. All-cause mortality was assessed prospectively through 31 December 2006 (n=1243 deaths). Maximum body mass index (BMI) was specified as the key exposure variable. We also calculated population attributable fractions (PAFs) by smoking status and investigated differences in PAFs in a decomposition analysis.Results The HR associated with a one-unit increment in BMI beyond 25.0 kg/m2 was 1.057 for never-smokers (95% CI 1.033 to 1.082; p<0.001), 1.036 for former smokers (95% CI 1.015 to 1.059; p<0.01) and 1.024 for current smokers (95% CI 0.997 to 1.052).We estimated that 19.8% of deaths were attributable to excess weight. The PAFs were 31.9, 20.4 and 11.3 for never-smokers, former and current smokers, respectively. The difference in PAFs between never-smokers and current smokers was almost entirely explained by the difference in HRs.Conclusions The proportion of deaths attributable to obesity is nearly 3 times as high among never-smokers compared with current smokers. This finding is consistent with the fact that smokers are subject to significant competing risks. Analyses that exclude smokers are likely to substantially overestimate the proportion of deaths attributable to obesity in the USA.
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009232
PMCIDPMCID: PMC4769428