Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Increase In Disability Found Among Older, Obese Adults

Date:
November 19, 2007
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Older adults today are much more likely to suffer from disability than those 10 years ago. The study reveals that obesity, which has become more common among older Americans, is having an increasingly profound impact on their day-to-day activities and overall health.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine report that older adults today are much more likely to suffer from disability than those 10 years ago. This research -- the first to track effects of obesity on disability over time -- appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Obesity is more hazardous to the health of the elderly than we previously suspected," says Dawn Alley, PhD, lead author, and Robert Wood Johnson Health and Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "For an older person, suffering from obesity means they are much less likely to be able to walk to the front door or pick up a bag of groceries."

The study reveals that obesity, which has become more common among older Americans, is having an increasingly profound impact on their day-to-day activities and overall health. By comparing health data from 1988-1994 to data from 1999-2004, the researchers found that the odds of suffering from functional impairment have increased 43 percent among obese adults age 60 years and older. This means they are less able to do things like walk a quarter of a mile, climb 10 steps, pick up a 10-pound weight, and bend over.

"We believe that two factors are likely contributing to the rise in disability among older, obese people," says Virginia Chang, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Penn; Attending Physician, Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center; and senior study author. "First, people are potentially living longer with their obesity due to improved medical care, and second, people are becoming obese at younger ages than in the past. In both instances, people are living with obesity for longer periods of time, which increases the potential for disability."

The study evaluated health survey data from 9,928 Americans age 60 years and over from the National Heath and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) conducted from 1988 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2004. Researchers estimated the risk of functional and activities of daily living (ADL) impairment - the inability to move from a bed, dress, or eat - for normal weight, overweight, and obese populations for both time periods, and evaluated trends in the relationship between obesity and disability over time. Results revealed that obesity increased by 8.2% among the population over 60 during this time period, and that the disability gap between obese and non-obese groups widened.

Researchers also found that obese people are not benefiting from some of the health improvements that the rest of the population is experiencing. For example, although the odds of ADL impairment decreased by 34 percent among the general population, no such improvements were seen in the obese population.

Other recent studies have suggested that obese populations have actually become healthier since the 1960s. While other obesity-related risk factors -- such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol -- have declined, this new research suggests that quality of life for obese older people may be deteriorating.

"Preventing disability should be another motivation for health care providers, policymakers and the public to take obesity seriously in the elderly population. Spending time and resources to prevent obesity now may reduce the need to treat disabilities later," says Dr. Alley.

Journal reference: JAMA. 2007;298(17):2020-2027

The study was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars Program and by a grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Increase In Disability Found Among Older, Obese Adults." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071106164758.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2007, November 19). Increase In Disability Found Among Older, Obese Adults. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071106164758.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Increase In Disability Found Among Older, Obese Adults." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071106164758.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins