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April 9, 2003

Obesity and Years of Life LostObesity and Years of Life Lost

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(14):1777. doi:10.1001/jama.289.14.1777-a

To the Editor: Dr Fontaine and colleagues1 reported that "overweight and obesity (among blacks) may not decrease life expectancy until a body mass index (BMI) of approximately 32-33 for men and 37-38 for women is reached." I am concerned that may give a false interpretation of the importance of BMI among blacks compared with whites.

Reports from the follow-up of the Cancer Prevention Study II2,3 found that that the age standardized death rates for black women were substantially higher than for white women for all BMI categories except at very high levels of BMI (>40). For men, the death rates were also substantially higher across BMI categories for black men vs white men.

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