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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2010 Jan;65(1):99-104. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glp099. Epub 2009 Jul 23.

Survival in older men may benefit from being slightly overweight and centrally obese--a 5-year follow-up study in 4,000 older adults using DXA.

Author information

1
Department of Medicine and Geriatrics, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong, China. auyeungtw@cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Whether overweight in old age is hazardous remains controversial. Body mass index (BMI) overestimates adiposity and fails to measure central adiposity. We used dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to measure adiposity and hypothesized that overall adiposity, distribution of adiposity, and muscle mass might individually affect survival.

METHODS:

We recruited 2000 men and 2000 women aged 65 years or older. Baseline BMI, waist-hip ratio (WHR), body fat index (BFI = total body fat/height square), relative truncal fat (RTF = trunk fat/total body fat), and body muscle mass index (BMMI = total body muscle mass/height square) were measured. Mortality was ascertained by death registry after 63.3 (median) months.

RESULTS:

Two hundred and forty-two men and 78 women died. In men, mortality hazard ratio (HR) decreased consistently by 0.85 (p < .005), 0.86 (p < .005), and 0.86 (p < .005) per every quintile increase in BMI, BFI, and BMMI, respectively. A J-shaped relationship was observed in central adiposity (RTF and WHR) quintiles; the minimum values were at the 3rd WHR quintile (0.92-0.94) and 4th RTF quintile (mean WHR, 0.94). When RTF was tested with BFI, both high and low central adiposity were unfavorable while general adiposity became marginally insignificant (p = 0.062). When BFI and BMMI were tested together, increasing adiposity rather than muscle mass favored survival (BFI quintile, HR 0.97, p .015; BMMI quintile, HR 1.00, p .997).

CONCLUSIONS:

Older men were resistive to hazards of overweight and adiposity; and mild-grade overweight, obesity, and even central obesity might be protective. This may bear significant implication on the recommended cutoff values for BMI and WHR in the older population.

PMID:
19628635
PMCID:
PMC2796879
DOI:
10.1093/gerona/glp099
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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