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Prev Cardiol. 2003 Spring;6(2):104-7.

Impact of age on definition of standards for ideal weight.

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Department of Veterans Affairs, Primary Care Service Line, Louis Stokes-Cleveland Medical Center, 2031 Belmont Avenue, Youngstown, OH 44505, USA.


There has been an ongoing debate regarding the impact of age while establishing standards for ideal weight. Based on current federal guidelines released by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, ideal weight is defined as a body mass index between 18.7-24.9 for all adults regardless of age. However, studies failed to show a positive association between overweight--as defined by the current guidelines--and all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in individuals 65 years and older. Data suggest that optimum body mass index tended to be higher for older adults compared with the young and middle-aged population, and interestingly, being heavier than recommended by the current guidelines resulted in the lowest mortality rates. Therefore, allocation of time and resources for weight reduction interventions among the mild- to moderately-overweight elderly is not advisable. To establish standards for ideal weight, future guidelines should consider age-specific recommendations that reflect the results of recent studies.

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