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Ideal BMI for older individuals could also be larger than really useful

A physique mass index over 25 is often thought of unhealthy, however a examine of greater than 27,000 individuals in China means that might not be the case for older age teams



Health



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 larger than at the moment really useful have a decrease mortality charge, a large-scale evaluation in China has discovered. The findings recommend that weight tips must 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 top and weight, and most guidelines 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 certain that these suggestions make sense for older age teams too, he says.

Shi and his colleagues studied mortality threat in additional than 27,000 individuals over the age of 80 throughout China from 1998 onwards. The individuals had a median age of 93 after they enrolled within the examine they usually have been adopted up till 2018 or their deaths.

Previous analyses have discovered a hyperlink between larger BMI scores in older age teams and a decrease mortality charge, however that is the primary examine 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 threat of demise from non-cardiovascular causes comparable to most cancers or respiratory illness. This group additionally had a decrease threat 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 charge than these within the 20 to 25 vary.

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

Shi says it’s unclear why the next BMI is linked with a decrease mortality charge, however speculates that it could be as a result of these individuals having a extra nutritious weight loss plan. He additionally notes that, on the whole, the BMI scores of this inhabitants have 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 examine 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 as a result of higher diet.

“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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