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New scale could help predict obese patients' risk of death

August 15, 2011

New research hopes to simplify and clarify the risk someone runs from being obese.

Obesity is the fifth leading cause of death in the world; according to the World Health Organization, more than 65 percent of the world's population lives in countries where obesity is a leading contributor to death. But defining obesity is not simple. Body mass index relies on a complicated formula, and a high BMI might not accurately reflect someone's risk of death.

Obesity expert David B. Allison, Ph.D., distinguished professor in the University of Alabama at Birmingham's School of Public Health, and scientists from the University of Alberta studied the Edmonton Obesity Staging System, a five-stage scale (0-4) that considers BMI, other illnesses and functional status of people who are obese to rank the consequences of excess weight.

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