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Statement of the Problem: Maintaining normal weight will prevent ill health and prolong life. In the older population, it is also true, but older people have increased risks of obesity, overweight and underweight. Risk factors for these abnormal weights have been less investigated. We set up a cohort study in China to identify the risk factors. Methods: In 2001-2003 we examined a random sample of 2917 residents aged ≥65 years from Anhui of China, documenting socioeconomic status (SES) and cardiovascular disease risk factors (CVDRFs) and recording blood pressure and physical measurements. In 2007-2009 we re-interviewed 1462 surviving cohort members, measuring body weight and height to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI). We defined participants with BMI≥28 kg/m2 as having obesity, BMI 24-<28 as overweight, BMI 18.5-<24 as normal weight and BMI<18.5 as underweight. We employed a binary logistic regression model to compute age-sex adjusted odds ratios (OR) for risk factors in obesity verse normal weight. ORs were also calculated to identify risk factors in overweight and underweight respectively. Findings: Of 1462 participants, 1313 had their BMI measured, of which 55.9% had normal weight, 6.5% obesity, 24.4% overweight and 13.3% underweight. There was a significant association of obesity with high SES (e.g. adjusted OR in urban verse rural living was 1.75, 95%CI 1.10-2.79) and CVDRFs (e.g. hypertension 2.55, 1.30-5.01). There was a similar pattern for overweight associated with these risk factors (e.g. hypertension 1.55, 1.05-2.27), while watching TV increased the risk of overweight (1.84, 1.33-2.54). Surprisingly underweight was also related to high SES (e.g. adjusted OR of 1.49, 1.03-2.15 in urban), and inversely associated with baseline depression (0.57, 0.33-0.97) and smoking (0.59,0.39-0.90). Conclusion & Significance: Older adults in China have high levels of abnormal weight. Targeting high-risk groups of abnormal weight would likely improve weight management in older adults.
Isaac M Danat is a PhD student in Epidemiology and Global Health Research under the supervisor of Dr. Ruoling Chen at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. In 2014 he was awarded Master of Public Health degree (MPH) at University of Wolverhampton after obtaining a MBA at Ahmadu Bello University and a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree at University of Jos, Nigeria. Before entry into the PhD program he worked as a Senior Analyst and a Senior Program Officer, on the Essential Medicine Project, with an international public health NGO “Clinton Health Access Initiative”. His work focuses on obesity research in older population. He was a Speaker at the International Conference for Geriatrics and Gerontological Nursing at London UK, in October 2016. He is a co-author of a paper published in a peer review journal titled “The prevalence and determinants of undetected dementia in the community: A systematic review and a meta-analysis”.
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