Body Mass Index and Mortality in Blunt Trauma: The Right BMI can be Protective

James Choi, Abbas Smiley, Rifat Latifi, Shekhar Gogna, Kartik Prabhakaran, Jorge Con, Patrice Anderson, Anthony Policastro, Malk Beydoun, Peter Rhee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There are limited studies examining the role of BMI on mortality in the trauma population. The aim of this study was to analyze whether the “obesity paradox” exists in non-elderly patients with blunt trauma. Methods: A retrospective study was performed on the Trauma Quality Improvement Program (TQIP) database for 2016. All non-elderly patients aged 18–64, with blunt traumatic injuries were identified. A generalized additive model (GAM) was built to assess the association of mortality and BMI adjusted for age, gender, race, and injury severity score (ISS). Results: 28,475 patients (mean age = 42.5, SD = 14.3) were identified. 20,328 (71.4%) were male. Age (p < 0.0001), gender (p < 0.0001), and ISS (p < 0.0001) had significant associations with mortality. After GAM, BMI showed a significant U-shaped association with mortality (EDF = 3.2, p = 0.003). A BMI range of 31.5 ± 0.9 kg/m2 was associated with the lowest mortality. Conclusion: High BMI can be a protective factor in mortality within non-elderly patients with blunt trauma. However, underweight or morbid obesity suggest a higher risk of mortality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1479
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Blunt trauma
  • Generalized additive model
  • Obesity
  • Obesity paradox
  • Retrospective

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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