Obesity in old age

Background

 The prevalence of obesity is highest in persons around age 65. In addition, similar to other age groups, the prevalence of obesity in old age is increasing over time. Simple anthropometric measures are widely used to identify an increased risk of adverse health outcomes associated with obesity. There is an ongoing debate about the applicability of current criteria for obesity in older adults. The composition of the body changes with age, which may have serious implications for the interpretation of these obesity indices in older persons. In younger populations, the criteria for BMI have been developed using early mortality as the main health outcome. However, in aging research healthy aging is currently considered more important than longevity. Therefore, the characterization of optimal body weight / body composition in old age should potentially consider a range of health and function outcomes, including chronic disease, functional status, and quality of life.