Scale of Life

Obesity scale that can determine risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Obesity has become a huge problem for many. There’s been tons of research on risks associated with obesity, but never a way to measure each individual’s risk of death - until now.

Obesity has spread to countries all over the world and is ranked as the fifth leading cause of death by the World Health Organization. Body mass index (BMI) is the traditional method used to measure excess fat, but the formula is complicated and does not actually correspond to risk of death. So researchers came up with a new scale.

"Obesity is deadly, see your doctor for help."

The Edmonton Obesity Staging System (EOSS) is a five point scale (0-4) that takes BMI, other health and mental health problems along with quality of life into account. Lead researcher, Arya M. Sharma, M.D., who was the first to propose this classification system, believes this tool will be able to provide more individualized needs and treatments.

After reviewing data from National Health and Human Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 1988 to 1994 and 1999 to 2004, the researchers found over 75 percent of the cohort received scores of 1 or 2. They also found that higher EOSS scores – 2 and 3 - were linked to a higher risk of death compared to lower scores – 0 and 1.

The new EOSS can help doctors quickly assess patient’s needs and prioritize treatment resources like bariatric surgery, Dr. Sharma says.

Surgery is an effective treatment for severe cases of obesity and with this new classification system, severe cases depending on risk of death can be determined, David B. Allison, Ph.D., obesity expert and professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public health, believes.

The research is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
August 17, 2011
Last Updated:
August 19, 2011