Background and aims: Weight changes are predictors of health outcomes in older people. The purpose of this study is to examine the association between 2-year weight change and mortality in older Mexican Americans.
Methods: Seven year prospective cohort study of 1,749 non-institutionalized Mexican American men and women aged 65 and older residing in five Southwestern states. Measures include self-reports of medical conditions (heart attack, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, hip fracture or cancer), functional disability, high depressive symptoms, smoking status, a summary performance score of lower body function, hand grip muscle strength, and body mass index (BMI). Weight change was examined by comparing the baseline weight to the weight two years later to estimate the hazard of death within the following five-year period.
Results: Of the 1,749 subjects, 396 (22.6%) lost 5% or more weight, 984 (56.3%) had weight that remained stable, and 369 (21.1%) gained 5% or more weight between baseline and the 2-year follow-up period. Of the ones who lost 5% of weight, 28% died as compared to 19.7% and 15.2% of those whose weight remained stable and those who gained weight after 5 years, respectively. The hazard ratio (HR) of death for the group that lost 5% or more of their weight compared to the reference group (stable weight) was 1.35 (95% CI 1.06-1.70) after controlling for demographic variables, BMI, and waist circumference at baseline and 1.32 (95% CI 1.04-1.67) after controlling for all covariates. The HR of death for the group that gained 5% or more of weight was 0.78 (95% CI 0.58-1.05) after controlling for demographic variables, BMI, and waist circumference at baseline and 0.77 (95% CI 0.57-1.04) after controlling for all covariates.
Conclusions: Weight loss is an independent predictor of mortality among older Mexican Americans, after controlling for relevant risk factors.