Risk Analysis

Body Weight Distributions for Risk Assessment

Journal Article

Precise age‐specific average body weight estimates are necessary for deterministic risk assessments, and an accurate body weight distribution is equally important in probabilistic risk assessments. Age‐specific body weight distributions for U.S. residents are estimated using NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) data collected in four surveys over the last 24 years. The weighted mean and standard deviation of natural log‐transformed body weights are computed for single‐year age groups and population age‐specific weight patterns further described using piece‐wise polynomial spline functions and nonparametric age‐smoothed trend lines. These functions are used to compare distributional changes in age‐specific body weight in the United States from the first NHANES survey in 1976–1980 to the most recent in 1999–2002. Analysis demonstrates that age‐ and sex‐specific average body weight changes over this time period are not uniform. Use of these functions to compute body weight distributions for selected child‐age categories is demonstrated.

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