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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Apr;15(4):929-38.

Obesity history as a predictor of walking limitation at old age.

Author information

  • 1Department of Health and Functional Capacity, National Public Health Institute, Peltolantie 3, FI-20720 Turku, Finland. sari.stenholm@ktl.fi

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To study whether walking limitation at old age is determined by obesity history.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES:

In a retrospective longitudinal study based on a representative sample of the Finnish population of 55 years and older (2055 women and 1337 men), maximal walking speed, body mass, and body height were measured in a health examination. Walking limitation was defined as walking speed<1.2 m/s or difficulty in walking 0.5 km. Recalled height at 20 years of age and recalled weight at 20, 30, 40, and 50 years of age were recorded.

RESULTS:

Subjects who had been obese at the age of 30, 40, or 50 years had almost a 4-fold higher risk of walking limitation compared to non-obese. Obesity duration increased the age- and gender-adjusted risk of walking limitation among those who had been obese since the age of 50 (odds ratio, 4.33; 95% confidence interval, 2.59 to 7.23, n=114), among the obese since the age of 40 [6.01 (2.55 to 14.14), n=39], and among the obese since the age of 30 [8.97 (3.06 to 26.29), n=14]. The risk remained elevated even among those who had previously been obese but lost weight during their midlife or late adulthood [3.15 (1.63 to 6.11), n=71].

DISCUSSION:

Early onset of obesity and obesity duration increased the risk of walking limitation, and the effect was only partially mediated through current BMI and higher risk of obesity-related diseases. Preventing excess weight gain throughout one's life course is an important goal in order to promote good health and functioning in older age.

PMID:
17426328
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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