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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2003 Nov;58(11):1018-30.

Prevalence and correlates of overweight and obesity among older adults: findings from the Canadian National Population Health Survey.

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  • 1School of Community Health and the. Institute on Aging, Portland State University, Oregon 97207, USA.



The prevalence of obesity among elderly persons in industrialized countries ranges from 15% to 20%. Little is known about variations of overweight within subgroups of the elderly population. This study examined the factors associated with overweight and obesity among older men and women.


Data for 12,823 community-dwelling persons aged 65 and older from the 1996-1997 Canadian National Population Health Survey were examined. Predictors of overweight (body mass index [BMI] = 25.0-29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI = >30 kg/m2) relative to normal weight (BMI = 20.0-24.9 kg/m2) were examined using logistic regression analyses. Analyses were stratified by gender. The predictor variables included age, education, marital status, place of birth, region, smoking status, alcohol use, chronic conditions, physical activity, functional limitations, self-rated health, social support, and psychological distress.


Overall, 39% and 13% of Canadian older adults were classified as overweight and obese, respectively. Some of the risk factors for overweight were male gender, low education, being married, Canadian born, residence in the Atlantic provinces, no use of alcohol, comorbidity, physical inactivity, and limited functional status. Risk factors for obesity were similar to those for overweight except for being unmarried; American, European, and Australian born; lower and higher levels of alcohol use; poor self-rated health; and psychological distress.


The results could lead to more effective weight-control interventions that are designed to promote increased physical activity and healthy eating habits among obese older individuals.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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