Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: Sepsis represents a major worldwide healthcare burden. However, how body-mass index (BMI) is related to the long-term risk of sepsis-related mortality in low- and middle-income countries remains uncertain. METHODS: We examined the associations of sepsis-related mortality with both baseline BMI and waist circumference (WC) using data from China Kadoorie Biobank, a prospective cohort recruited during 2004-2008 and followed up to December 2016. After excluding participants with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, tuberculosis, cancer, heart disease, and stroke, and omitting the first 3 years of follow-up, 440,763 participants remained for analysis. RESULTS: During a median follow-up of 10.0 years, 1957 sepsis-related deaths (3,134,870 person-years) were included for analysis. Compared with reference BMI of 22.5 to < 25.0 kg/m2, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for sepsis-related mortality were 2.42 (95% CIs 2.07-2.84) for BMI of < 18.5, 1.59 (1.36-1.85) for 18.5 to < 20.0, 1.21 (1.06-1.38) for 20.0 to < 22.5, 0.97 (0.83-1.13) for 25.0 to < 27.5, 0.98 (0.80-1.21) for 27.5 to < 30.0, and 1.22 (0.93-1.60) for ≥ 30.0 kg/m2. Further adjustment for WC led to slightly augmentation of the effect size for the lower BMI groups and null association in the obese group. In the association analysis between WC and sepsis-related mortality, compared with the middle quintile group, only the highest quintile group showed an increased risk of sepsis-related mortality after adjusted for BMI (HR = 1.54; 95% CI 1.28-1.84). CONCLUSIONS: Underweight, lower normal weight, and abdominal obesity are associated with increased future risk of sepsis-related mortality over 10 years in the Chinese population. The double burden of underweight and obesity indicates a heavy sepsis burden faced by low- and middle-income countries.

Original publication




Journal article


Crit Care

Publication Date





Body-mass index, Cohort study, Mortality, Sepsis, Waist circumference, Adult, Body Mass Index, China, Cohort Studies, Female, Humans, Male, Risk Assessment, Sepsis