Obesity in elderly 'ups disability risk'

Obesity in the elderly is a ticking time bomb for health and social services, research suggests.

Although being obese in old age did not significantly increase the risk of death, it was found to increase the risk of disability in later life, creating a strain on services.

For the study, researchers from the Peninsula Medical School in Exeter measured weight, height and BMI in a group of 4,000 participants aged 65 and over.

They then compared the participants with a normal weight to those who were obese and looked for signs of mobility problems.

Compared to participants with a normal weight (BMI 20-24.9), obese men were 51.9 per cent more likely to suffer a disability while women were 31 per cent more likely to be disabled.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

Journal of American Geriatrics Society Online 2008

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