Perfect BMI for older folks could also be greater than advisable

A physique mass index over 25 is generally thought of unhealthy, however a research of greater than 27,000 folks in China means that is probably not the case for older age teams


25 April 2022

KD738R Elderly overweight man

BMI scores estimate whether or not somebody is a wholesome weight

Clynt Garnham Medical / Alamy

People over 80 whose physique mass index is greater than at the moment advisable have a decrease mortality price, a large-scale evaluation in China has discovered. The findings recommend that weight tips needs to be modified for this age group.

BMI scores are used to estimate whether or not or not somebody has a wholesome weight. It relies on an individual’s peak and weight, and most tips recommend that somebody with a rating above 25 is obese, whereas these with scores above 30 are thought of overweight.

These tips are largely primarily based on measurements taken from youthful age teams, says Xiaoming Shi on the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing. As the world’s inhabitants ages, it is very important be sure that these suggestions make sense for older age teams too, he says.

Shi and his colleagues studied mortality danger in additional than 27,000 folks over the age of 80 throughout China from 1998 onwards. The members had a mean age of 93 once they enrolled within the research and so they had been adopted up till 2018 or their deaths.

Previous analyses have discovered a hyperlink between greater BMI scores in older age teams and a decrease mortality price, however that is the primary research to have a look at this query with such a big pattern measurement.

In this evaluation, the researchers discovered that the optimum BMI for the over-80s was round 29. This was largely pushed by a decrease danger of demise from non-cardiovascular causes akin to most cancers or respiratory illness. This group additionally had a decrease danger of demise from cardiovascular illnesses, however the relationship was weaker.

Even these with a BMI within the “obese” vary, between 30 and 35, had a decrease mortality price than these within the 20 to 25 vary.

The workforce accounted for a number of components, together with socioeconomic standing, schooling background and whether or not an individual smoked.

Shi says it’s unclear why a better BMI is linked with a decrease mortality price, however speculates that it could be on account of these folks having a extra nutritious weight loss program. He additionally notes that, normally, the BMI scores of this inhabitants had been decrease than these discovered within the West. Over 40 per cent of the over-60s within the US are overweight. “Our findings may not be generalisable to other age groups and ethnic groups,” he says.

“This study highlights the importance of taking age into account when considering the relation between BMI and mortality or other health risks,” says Louise Baur on the University of Sydney. She says this research can’t inform us precisely why being obese could also be linked to higher well being outcomes within the over-80s, however agrees that it could be on account of higher vitamin.

“While BMI is an accessible and affordable way to screen a person’s health, it shouldn’t be relied on as a single measure of health,” says Nicholas Fuller, additionally on the University of Sydney. “BMI is based on body weight, but a person’s disease risk is linked to body fat, not weight. It is more important to focus on measures that tell us more about fat in the body and where it’s distributed, such as waist circumference, to get a better understanding of health and risk.”

Journal reference: Nature Aging, DOI: 10.1038/s43587-022-00201-3

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