Friday, November 23, 2007

No worries adding pounds when getting elderly

old happy weight
Most older adults are gaining weight but this is no problem for health in most cases, according to a study in more than five thousand seniors in four states.

The study on weight, mortality, years of healthy life, and active life expectancy in older adults has been conducted by the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington in Seattle, using data of the Cardiovascular Health Study. I start with the conclusion of the authors because they disagree with the current view of weight and health:

"Similar to middle-aged populations, older adults are likely to be or to become overweight or obese, but higher weight is not associated with worse health in this age group. Thus, the number of older adults at a 'healthy' weight may be much higher than currently believed."
In the study, the different categories of weight as well as states of health and the number of years spent in each weight and health category have been assessed. It came out, for instance, that healthy women at age 65 on average will live another twenty-two years (seventeen of these in good health) and that they will spend nearly half of this lifespan as "overweight" or "obese". Such higher body weight rarely is associated with poor health in women and in men, whereas being underweight is linked to worse outcomes.

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