The Effects of Weight Changes After Middle Age on the Rate of Disability in an Elderly Population Sample

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To analyze the association between weight loss and weight gain after middle age and the prevalence of late disability.

DESIGN:

Secondary analysis of baseline data from a longitudinal population study.

SETTING:

Progetto Veneto Anziani Study.

PARTICIPANTS:

Two thousand nine hundred ten (1,187 male, 1,723 female) Italians aged 65 and older.

MEASUREMENTS:

Disability status (impairment in at least one activity of daily living) was analyzed according to current body mass index (BMI), BMI at age 50, and intercurrent weight changes (weight gain >10%, weight gain 5-10%, weight stable, weight loss 5-10%, weight loss >10%).

RESULTS:

In subjects with normal weight at aged 50, weight gain of more than 10%, weight gain of 5% to 10%, and weight loss of more than 10% were significantly associated with disability (reference stable weight). Adjustment for major chronic diseases did not affect the relationship between weight gain and disability but attenuated the association between weight loss and disability. In participants with obesity at aged 50, weight gain of more than 10% and weight gain of 5% to 10% were associated with the presence of disability; adjustment for chronic diseases did not affect these associations. In these participants, no associations were found between weight loss and disability status.

CONCLUSION:

Weight gain after middle age was associated with late disability, particularly in participants who were already obese. Weight loss after middle age was associated with disability only in normal-weight participants, and this association was attenuated after adjustment for chronic diseases.

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