Performance Improvement 2009. What Relationship Exists Among Obesity, Disability, and Other Health Conditions in the Elderly?


This study explored the relationship between excess weight and obesity in a series of cross sectional and longitudinal analyses in an attempt to evaluate these concerns. The authors used data from the 1998-2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study. The recent rise in the prevalence of obesity and overweight in the U.S. population has raised many concerns about the future. In addition to concerns about the medical costs of treating obesity-related illness, an apparent correlation between obesity and disability has led to concern that the recent declines in rates of disability among the elderly may cease or reverse.

This study found that the risks of developing difficulties with activities of daily living (ADLs) increased with the prevalence of obesity, but the effects appeared to be less dramatic than the effects on the limitations in physical functioning, which can be precursors of ADL disability. Researchers found only a weak relationship between excess weight and the onset of difficulties with instrumental ADLs.

Report Title: Examining the Relationships between Excess Body Weight, Health and Disability
Agency Sponsor: ASPE-ODALTCP, Office of Disability, Aging, and Long-Term Care Policy
Federal Contact: Hakan Aykan, 202-690-6443
Performer: University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Syracuse University and Urban Institute
PIC ID: 8909

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