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News

Body mass index and quality of well-being in a community of older adults

Obese older adults have a lower health-related quality of life than those who are over- or normal weight, find researchers in the February issue of the American Journal of Preventative Medicine.

News image

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The impact of obesity and associated conditions on health has not been assessed in older adults.

In this study, researchers from the United States evaluated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and health-related quality of life.

The team estimated the quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) lost to overweight, obesity, and associated conditions.

The researchers assessed 1326 adults with a mean age of 72 years.

Participants completed the Quality of Well-Being Scale (QWB), a generic health-related quality of life measure.

The team recorded height, weight, exercise, and smoking status.

They used any differences in QWB scores between obese adults and those with a normal BMI estimate the QALYs lost due to obesity and associated conditions.

The team divided participants into 4 groups based on BMI:

  • BMI <20 kg/m2 = underweight
  • BMI 20 to 24.9 kg/m2 = normal
  • BMI 25 to 29.9 kg/m2 = overweight
  • BMI >30 kg/m2 = obese.

The team found that the normal BMI group had the highest QWB score, followed by the underweight, overweight, and obese groups.
The normal BMI group had the best Quality of Well-Being Scale score.
American Journal of Preventative Medicine

They determined that the QWB score for the obese group was significantly lower than that for the normal and overweight groups.

The researchers estimated that 2.93 million QALYs are lost due to obesity and associated conditions.

Dr Erik Groessl's team concluded, "Obese older adults tend to have lower HRQOL than those who are overweight or of normal BMI".

"The lower QWB scores associated with obesity translate into millions of QALYs lost each year".

"Being overweight but not obese did not have a significant impact on HRQOL in this population".

Am J Prevent Med 2004; 26(2): 126-9
20 February 2004

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