Overweight and obesity and the burden of disease and disability in elderly men

Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004 Nov;28(11):1374-82. doi: 10.1038/sj.ijo.0802775.


Objective: To examine the prevalence of disease burden and disability associated with overweight and obesity in men aged 60-79 y and to assess whether the current WHO weight guidelines are appropriate in the elderly.

Design: Cross-sectional survey 20 y after enrollment.

Setting: General practices in 24 British towns.

Participants: In total, 4232 men aged 60-79 y (77% of survivors) with measured weight and height.

Main outcome measures: Cardiovascular (CV) risk factors, prevalence of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, disability and regular medication.

Results: In total, 17% of the men were obese (body mass index (BMI) >/=30 kg/m(2)) and a further 52% were overweight (BMI 25-29.9 kg/m(2)). Prevalence of hypertension, low HDL-cholesterol, high triglycerides and insulin resistance and the prevalence of most disease outcomes increased with increasing degrees of overweight/obesity. Men in the normal weight range (18.5-24.9 kg/m(2)) had the lowest prevalence of ill health. Compared with normal weight men, obese men showed a two-fold risk of major CVD (odds ratio (OR)=1.96, 95% CI 1.44-2.67) and locomotor disability (OR=2.26, 95% CI 1.66, 3.09) and were nearly three times as likely to have diabetes, CV interventions or to be on CV medication. Over 60% of the prevalence of high insulin resistance was attributable to overweight and obesity as was over a third of diabetes and hypertension, a quarter of locomotor disability and a fifth of major CVD.

Conclusion: In elderly men, overweight and obesity are associated with a significantly increased burden of disease, in particular CV-related disorders and disability. The current guidelines for overweight and obesity appear to be appropriate in elderly men.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disabled Persons*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Risk Factors