BMI of 35kg/m² or More Associated With Mortality

Lower-level obesity is associated with new or worsening disability within two years

TUESDAY, May 17 (HealthDay News) -- In older U.S. adults, moderately severe obesity may be related to mortality, whereas lower levels of obesity are correlated with new or worsening disability within two years, according to a study published in the May 17 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Christina C. Wee, M.D., M.P.H., from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, and colleagues examined the association between obesity and all-cause mortality and functional disability in older adults in the United States. Data from 20,975 community-dwelling participants, age 65 and older, in the 1994 to 2000 Medicare Current Beneficiary Surveys, were reviewed. The participants were assessed for all-cause mortality, new or worsening condition of disability in performing activities of daily living (ADLs), and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) over the course of two years.

The investigators found that an increased mortality risk was seen for those adults with a body mass index (BMI) of more than 35 kg/m² compared to the reference group (hazard ratio for men, 1.49; women, 1.21) after adjusting for confounders. For participants without severe disability at baseline, 17 and 26 percent developed new and worsening disability in ADL and IADL, respectively. Being overweight and obese was correlated with new or progressive ADL and IADL disability in a dose-dependent manner, especially for whites. BMI and gender were significantly correlated with any outcome, but risks for ADL disability may be reduced for African-Americans compared to whites.

"Obesity (as measured by BMI) seems to confer added mortality risks in elderly persons only when BMI is 35 kg/m² or greater," the authors write.

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