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Weight gain early in life leads to physical disabilities in older adults
Date:4/6/2009

in kilograms divided by height in meters squared, at different age intervals, the researchers found that women who were overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or greater) from their mid-20s to their 70s were nearly three times more likely to develop mobility limitations than women who were normal weight throughout. The risk for men was slightly less they were about 1.6 times more likely to develop mobility limitations, according to the study.

The study also found that women who were obese (BMI of 30 or greater) at age 50, but not in their 70s, were 2.7 times more likely to develop mobility limitations compared to women who were not obese throughout. Men who were obese at 50, but not in their 70s, were 1.8 times more likely to develop mobility limitations than men who never carried the extra weight.

Carrying extra weight can strain joints, hinder exercise and lead to chronic conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease, that are directly related to the development of mobility limitations, Houston said.

The results are significant, Houston added, because the elderly population in the United States is growing, and is expected to double by the year 2030 to about 20 percent.

"Over the past couple of decades there has been a trend towards declining rates of physical disability in older adults," Houston said. "However, the dramatic increase in overweight and obesity in the United States may reverse these declines and may lead to an increase in physical disability among future generations of older adults. The data suggest that interventions to prevent overweight and obesity in young and middle-aged adults may be useful in preventing or delaying the onset of mobility limitations later in life."


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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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