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Weighty Issues for Older Women

Overweight and obesity have a known correlation to disability, disease and death. A recent investigation looked at obesity and its impact on women’s survival to 85 years old.

The researchers looked at data from 36,611 female participants in the Women’s Health Initiative observational study. The goal was “to investigate whether higher baseline body mass index and waist circumference affect women’s survival to 85 years of age without major chronic disease (coronary disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes mellitus, or hip fracture) and mobility disability,” according to the authors.

Here’s what the study found:

Overweight and obese women had significantly higher risks of disease and mobility disability compared with normal-weight women. Both obese women and underweight women were more likely than normal-weight women to die before they were 85.

“Waist circumference greater than
88 centimeters was also associated with higher risk of earlier death, incident disease, and mobility disability,” the authors added. “Overall and abdominal obesity were important and potentially modifiable factors associated with dying or developing mobility disability and major chronic disease before 85 years of age in older women.”

The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine (2013; doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.12051

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