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Psychogeriatrics. 2019 Mar;19(2):135-140. doi: 10.1111/psyg.12375. Epub 2018 Oct 8.

Obesity and loneliness. Findings from a longitudinal population-based study in the second half of life in Germany.

Author information

1
Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Abstract

AIM:

Little is known about whether changes to obesity are associated with changes in loneliness scores. Therefore, using a longitudinal approach, we aimed to determine whether the onset of obesity (explanatory variable) is associated with changes in loneliness (outcome measure) among older adults.

METHODS:

For the present study, data from wave 2 (2002) to wave 5 (2014) of the German Ageing Survey were analyzed. This is a representative sample of community-dwelling individuals in Germany (≥40 years). A validated six-item scale by Gierveld and van Tilburg was used to quantify loneliness. Obesity was defined as body mass index ≥30 kg/m2 . Fixed effects regressions were used.

RESULTS:

Fixed effects regressions showed that loneliness increased with the onset of obesity among men but not among women. The sex × obesity interaction term was significant (P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings stress the importance of the onset of obesity for loneliness among older men. Weight management strategies might also be a promising strategy to reduce loneliness scores.

KEYWORDS:

body mass index; loneliness; longitudinal studies; obesity; old age

PMID:
30294939
DOI:
10.1111/psyg.12375
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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