Prevalence of overweight and obesity in non-institutionalized people aged 65 or over from Spain: the elderly EXERNET multi-centre study

Obes Rev. 2011 Aug;12(8):583-92. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2011.00878.x. Epub 2011 Apr 27.


Coupled with the growth of the older population, an increase in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in this age group has occurred in the last decades. The main aims of the present study were (i) to provide an updated prevalence of overweight and obesity in a representative sample of the Spanish elderly population; (ii) to calculate the prevalence of sarcopenic obesity (SO) and (iii) to analyse the relationships between adiposity measurements and lifestyle. A cross-sectional study was carried out in a sample of 3136 persons representative of the non-institutionalized population ≥65 years of age. Anthropometric measurements were obtained using standardized techniques and equipment. Overall, 84% of the population can be categorized as overweight and/or obese. The present study indicates that 67% of the Spanish elderly population has an increased percentage of fat mass and more than 56% suffer from central obesity. Moreover, SO is present in 15% of the Spanish elderly population. Finally, a strong relationship between both physically active and sedentary lifestyles and the level of adiposity was found. Prevalence of overweight and obesity among elderly people in Spain is very high and is still increasing. Lifestyle seems to be a determinant factor in the development of obesity among elderly people.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Composition
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Overweight / epidemiology*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Sex Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Waist Circumference