The importance of relative weight and body mass index to 14-yr mortality of 1233 white males of the Chicago Peoples Gas Company Study is analyzed by the inclusion of a quadratic term for weight in the multiple logistic function. The endpoints of death, all causes, CVR death, and CHD death are found to have a significant quadratic relationship to body mass index for the total cohort of 1233 men, while relative weight is found to have a quadratic relationship only with death, all causes. When the group is broken into men aged 40-49 and 50-59, body mass continues to show an important quadratic relationship to all three endpoints, while relative weight shows only an important quadratic relationship to death, all causes, among men aged 50-59. When the cohort is divided into smokers and nonsmokers, body mass index shows a significant quadratic relationship to all endpoints except CHD death among nonsmokers. Relative weight, on the other hand, is related quadratically only to total mortality in both groups. The weights corresponding to the lowest mortality are found to be about 25-35 per cent above the ideal published by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. Thus, for this cohort moderate overweight appears to be a sign of good health. Those individuals with the highest risk are those near the so-called ideal weight and those who are markedly obese, say with a relative weight above 150 or 160.
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