Canadian Seniors: Body Mass Index and Mortality Risk

seniors

A recent study carried out in Canada evaluates the link between changes in body mass index (BMI) and mortality risk in male and female Canadian seniors.

In Canada, the population is aging and the frequency of obesity is increasing. The medical care costs associated with obesity are great and excess body weight is associated with an increased risk of mortality in young to middle-aged adults. This information is well established within healthcare. The link, however, between obesity and mortality in seniors may not be the same.

The evidence obtained in past studies regarding body mass index (BMI) and mortality rates in seniors are conflicting. Also, these studies failed to determine the impact that BMI changes have on longevity. In this recent study published in BMC Public Health, researchers have aimed to characterize BMI trends and to determine how different BMI trends can predict mortality risk in Canadian seniors.

The results of this study emphasize the differences in BMI trends even for the elderly population from the age of 65 years onwards. Certain BMI trends and their link to mortality risk were found between Canadian men and women. Males with chronic obesity demonstrated the highest risk of mortality. However, males who were overweight at 65 years and lost weight as they got older but never became underweight had the lowest risk of mortality. On the other hand, women with decreasing BMI have varied mortality risks, which are dependent on their long-term health conditions.

The results of this study suggest that for men, aiming to be of normal weight regardless of their current weight could decrease their mortality risk. For women, disease management seems the most effective way to decrease mortality risk rather than concentrating on body weight alone. The results of this study present new concepts for the debate regarding the link between BMI and mortality risk among Canadian seniors.

Written by Jade Marie Evans, MPharm, Medical Writer

Reference: Wang, M et al. (2017). Trajectories of body mass index among Canadian seniors and associated mortality risk. Available: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-017-4917-0. Last accessed 24th Dec 2017.

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