The Obesity Paradox and Mortality in Older Adults

12 Apr 2023 • Weight loss in older adults, particularly among men, is linked to early death, according to a study. The findings, published in JAMA Network Open, said there was a “significant association” between weight loss of more than 5% and mortality. Men who lost between 5% and 10% of weight had a 33% higher risk of mortality. Men who lost more than 10% had a 289% higher chance. Women fared better, with a 26% and a 114% increase in the two ranges of weight loss, respectively.

The study involved more than 16,000 Australians over 70 and more than 2,400 Americans over 65 who didn’t have cardiovascular disease, dementia, disability, or “life-limiting” chronic illness. They were weighed at annual checkups between 2010 and 2014.

“This cohort study of healthy older adults suggests that weight loss was associated with an increase in all-cause and cause-specific mortality, including an increased risk of cancer, CVD, and other life-limiting conditions,” authors wrote. “Physicians should be aware of the significance of weight loss, especially among older men.”

Unanticipated weight loss even among adults with obesity is associated with increased mortality, regardless of other potential benefits of weight loss that are associated with quality of life and other morbidities, the study says. And weight gain in this age didn’t show a corresponding rise in mortality risk.

The study findings held regardless of baseline weight. Source: JAMA Network Open | Read full article

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