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Increase in BMI from normal weight to overweight in a sample of healthy research volunteers from 1976 to 2012

Friday, November 08, 2013 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

FAES Academic Center (Upper-Level Terrace)




  • M. DiVito
  • L. Moyer
  • A. Rossinoff
  • C. Royster
  • T. Psota
  • A. Courville
  • K. Zambell
  • E. Ayres


Introduction: Current literature provides limited information about healthy volunteers serving as controls for biomedical research. This study describes trends in body mass index (BMI) of this population at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (NIH CC). Methods: This cross-sectional study examined the BMI of healthy volunteers at the NIH CC from 1976-2012. Descriptive statistics were calculated for height, weight, BMI, age, and gender, and associations between categorical variables were analyzed using the χ²-test. Differences between BMI categories or time periods for continuous independent variables were assessed using Kruskal-Wallis and post-hoc Tamhane T2 tests. Study data were extracted from the NIH Biomedical Translational Research Information System (BTRIS). Subjects were selected based on a discharge code of “volunteer.” Results: Healthy volunteers were primarily non-Hispanic Whites from the DC Metro Area. Mean BMI was within the normal category from 1976-1987. From 1988 on, mean BMI fluctuated but increased. Over time, the prevalence of obesity among NIH CC healthy volunteers appears to be lower than the US population. Conclusion: Healthy volunteers at the NIH CC are likely to be overweight and non-Hispanic White. They appear to have a lower prevalence of obesity than the general population, but consistently follow national trends.

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