Health Consequences Associated with Being Overweight or Obese: A Swedish Population-Based Study of 85-Year-Olds

Authors

  • Huan-Ji Dong MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Geriatric Medicine, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden
    • Division of Geriatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Mitra Unosson PhD,

    1. Department of Social and Welfare Studies, Linköping University, Norrköping, Sweden
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  • Ewa Wressle PhD,

    1. Division of Geriatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
    2. Department of Geriatric Medicine, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden
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  • Jan Marcusson MD, PhD

    1. Division of Geriatrics, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden
    2. Department of Geriatric Medicine, County Council of Östergötland, Linköping, Sweden
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Address correspondence to Huan-Ji Dong, Department of Geriatric Medicine, Linköping University Hospital, SE-581 85 Linköping, Sweden. E-mail: huanji.dong@liu.se

Abstract

Objectives

To determine whether being overweight or obese is associated with significant health outcomes in an 85-year-old population.

Design

A cross-sectional population-based study.

Setting

Linköping, Sweden.

Participants

Three hundred thirty-eight people born in 1922 were identified using the local authority's register.

Measurements

Data related to sociodemographic characteristics, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), assistance use, and the presence of diseases were collected using a postal questionnaire. Anthropometry and functional status were assessed during home and geriatric clinic visits. Diseases were double-checked in the electronic medical records, and information about health service consumption was obtained from the local healthcare register.

Results

Overweight (body mass index (BMI) 25.0–29.9 kg/m2) and obese (BMI ≥ 30.0 kg/m2) participants perceived more difficulty performing instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) and had more comorbidity than their normal-weight counterparts (BMI 18.5–24.9 kg/m2), but their overall HRQoL and health service costs did not differ from those of normal-weight participants. After controlling for sociodemographic factors, being overweight did not influence IADLs or any comorbidity, but obese participants were more likely to perceive greater difficulty in performing outdoor activities (odds ratio (OR) = 2.1, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.1–4) and cleaning (OR = 2.2, 95% CI = 1.2–4.2) than their normal-weight counterparts. Although obesity was also associated with multimorbidity (OR = 3, 95% CI = 1.2–8), the health service cost of each case of multimorbidity (n = 251) was highest in normal-weight participants and nearly three times as much as in obese participants (ratio: 2.9, 95% CI = 1.1–8.1).

Conclusion

For 85-year-olds, being obese, as opposed to overweight, is associated with self-reported activity limitations and comorbidities. Overweight older adults living in their own homes in this population had well-being similar to that of those with normal weight.

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