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Prev Med. 2008 Nov;47(5):489-93. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.06.022. Epub 2008 Jul 11.

Changes in weight among U.S. adults aged 70 and over, 1993 to 2002.

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  • 1Population Science Division, Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.



To describe the patterns and predictors of weight change among U.S. adults aged 70 and over.


The study is a retrospective cohort study of 7441 community-dwelling U.S. adults aged 70 years and over during 1993-2002. We examined changes in weight for men and women, and by race/ethnicity groups. We used multivariate linear regression analysis to determine predictors of weight change while controlling for key covariates at baseline.


The mean body weight decreased in both genders and all ethnic groups. Unadjusted average weight loss was 3.41 kg for men and 3.29 kg for women over nine years. Black women had higher mean body weight at baseline and were more likely to report weight gains of 5 kg or more. Multivariate analysis showed that age and baseline weight were major predictors of weight loss. Physical activity was associated with less weight loss among men.


The trends of weight change among U.S. adults aged 70 and over were more prone to weight loss than weight gain, with substantial variations. Public health messages regarding weight control should take into account the heterogeneity of this population and target weight loss as well as weight gain to meet diverse needs of the population.

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