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Am J Epidemiol. 2002 Jul 15;156(2):122-4; discussion 125-6.

Invited commentary: body composition in studies of aging: new opportunities to better understand health risks associated with weight.

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Geriatric Epidemiology Section, Laboratory of Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-9205, USA.


The expected increase in the proportion of older persons over the next century underscores the need to identify modifiable risk factors for disease and disability in this population. One such risk factor is weight, which plays a role in many of the diseases common in old age and contributes to risk of disability and death. However, there is confusion and controversy regarding health risks associated with weight in old age. The emergence of new technologies to assess body composition should allow opportunities to better understand health risks associated with weight in old age, as suggested by the new report in this issue of the Journal. While application of these technologies to population studies will still require careful attention to methodological caveats important in studies of weight, the ability to separately examine lean mass, bone, and fat should shed light on the underlying biologic processes pertinent to risk.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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