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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Nov;16(11):2504-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.400. Epub 2008 Aug 28.

Effect of current and midlife obesity status on mortality risk in the elderly.

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School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.


The primary purpose of this study was to determine whether current and midlife obesity status provide independent information on mortality risk in elderly persons. Analyses were based on 3,238 participants from the original Framingham Heart Study (FHS) cohort who lived to at least 70 years of age and who had BMI measures from when they were in their 50s. Within this group of 70-year olds, obesity based on current BMI was associated with a 21% increased risk of mortality (P = 0.019) whereas obesity in 70-year olds based on BMI measures obtained at around 50 years of age was associated with a 55% increased risk of mortality (P < 0.0001). Compared to 70-year olds who were nonobese at both 50 and 70 years of age, mortality risk was increased by 47% (P < 0.001) in those who were obese at both 50 and 70 years of age, increased by 56% (P < 0.001) in those who were obese at 50 years of age and nonobese at 70 years of age, and not significantly different (P > 0.9) in those who were nonobese at 50 years of age and obese at 70 years of age. In summary, in this cohort of elderly adults, midlife and current BMI had independent effects on mortality risk. Specifically, although mortality risk was increased in obese older adults who were already obese at midlife, this was not the case for newly obese older adults. Conversely, nonobese older adults who were obese at midlife had an increased mortality risk. These observations imply that it is imperative to consider an elderly adult's BMI in context of their BMI at midlife.

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