OECD Health Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership health studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

Modelling life trajectories of body-mass index

Body-mass index (BMI) tends to follow a typical trajectory over the life-course of an individual, increasing in early life while decreasing after middle age. To be able to reflect these trends in the OECD Strategic Public Health Planning for Non-Communicable Diseases (SPHeP-NCDs) model, this paper analyses longitudinal BMI data from 22 countries to build a mixed, autoregressive model predicting an individual’s BMI based on their sex, age and previous BMI. The resulting model shows how young people are likely to see an increase in BMI year-on-year, even if they already have overweight or obesity. It also shows that that a healthy weight in childhood does not protect against future overweight, as BMI continues to increase well into adulthood even for children who start off with a healthy weight. The results of this analysis will be incorporated in the OECD SPHeP NCDs model, to better simulate the longer-term impact of interventions, in particular interventions targeting childhood obesity.


Keywords: BMI, Public Health
JEL: I18: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health; I12: Health, Education, and Welfare / Health / Health Behavior
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