Body weight and mortality in men aged 75 and older - Tips From Other Journals

Date: March, 1991

Although increased body weight is a well-established risk factor for increased mortality and morbidity in young and middle-aged adults, it has not been clearly established as a risk factor in the elderly. Current recommendations for the elderly are based either on projections from study results in younger populations or on findings of poorly conducted studies. Kinney and Caldwell evaluated the impact of body weight on mortality in a follow-up study of 162 men aged 75 years or older referred for echocardiography.

The investigators obtained data on height, weight, age, race, cigarette smoking status and presence of glucose intolerance and hypertension. Patients were followed for an average of 28.6 months, and survival in this period was recorded. Body weight was calculated using Quetelet's index (weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters) and was correlated with survival.

Fifty-three patients died during the follow-up period; 41 of these died during the first year. Of the variables measured, glucose intolerance and a low Quetelet's index were significantly associated with decreased survival. When early deaths were excluded, only age was associated with survival.

The authors conclude that the inverse relationship of weight to mortality in older men is associated with weight loss due to preexisting morbid conditions. When these morbid conditions are accounted for, body weight is not significantly related to survival. (Southern Medical Journal, November 1990, vol. 83, p. 1256.)

COPYRIGHT 1991 American Academy of Family PhysiciansCOPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

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