Body Mass Index and Survival in Men and Women Aged 70 to 75

Authors

  • Leon Flicker PhD,

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Kieran A. McCaul PhD,

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Graeme J. Hankey MD,

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Konrad Jamrozik PhD,

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Wendy J. Brown PhD,

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Julie E. Byles PhD,

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Osvaldo P. Almeida PhD

    1. From the *Western Australian Centre for Health and Ageing, Centre for Medical Research, Western Australian Institute for Medical Research, Perth, Western Australia; School of Medicine and Pharmacology, ††School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia; Department of Geriatric Medicine, §Stroke Unit, Department of Neurology, and ‡‡Department of Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital, Perth, Western Australia; School of Population Health and Clinical Practice, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia; #School of Human Movement Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland; and **Research Centre for Gender, Health and Ageing, Faculty of Health, University of Newcastle, Newcastle, New South Wales
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  • Presented at the 19th IAGG World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, Paris, France, July 2009.

Address correspondence to Leon Flicker, Professor of Geriatric Medicine, Western Australian Centre for Health & Ageing (M573), The University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Perth, Western Australia 6009. E-mail: leon.flicker@uwa.edu.au

Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To examine in an older population all-cause and cause-specific mortality associated with underweight (body mass index (BMI)<18.5), normal weight (BMI 18.5–24.9), overweight (BMI 25.0–29.9), and obesity (BMI≥30.0).

DESIGN: Cohort study.

SETTING: The Health in Men Study and the Australian Longitudinal Study of Women's Health.

PARTICIPANTS: Adults aged 70 to 75, 4,677 men and 4,563 women recruited in 1996 and followed for up to 10 years.

MEASUReMENTS: Relative risk of all-cause mortality and cause-specific (cardiovascular disease, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease) mortality.

RESULTS: Mortality risk was lowest for overweight participants. The risk of death for overweight participants was 13% less than for normal-weight participants (hazard ratio (HR)=0.87, 95% CI=0.78–0.94). The risk of death was similar for obese and normal-weight participants (HR=0.98, 95% CI=0.85–1.11). Being sedentary doubled the mortality risk for women across all levels of BMI (HR=2.08, 95% CI=1.79–2.41) but resulted in only a 28% greater risk for men (HR=1.28 (95% CI=1.14–1.44).

CONCLUSION: These results lend further credence to claims that the BMI thresholds for overweight and obese are overly restrictive for older people. Overweight older people are not at greater mortality risk than those who are normal weight. Being sedentary was associated with a greater risk of mortality in women than in men.

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