Objectives: To assess the associations among age, health status, and resting metabolic rate (RMR) in a large population of older adults.
Design: Cross-sectional analysis.
Setting: Community-dwelling volunteers from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA).
Participants: Persons aged 40 to 96 (mean 68.2 ± 11.0) who underwent a comprehensive physical examination, cognitive assessment, RMR testing, body composition assessment, and physical function testing during a 3-day clinic visit (N = 420).
Measurements: Participants were assigned to Insight into the Determination of Exceptional Aging and Longevity (IDEAL) or non-IDEAL categories based on health status. IDEAL participants were defined according to the absence of physical and cognitive impairments, chronic conditions and comorbidities, and blood profile abnormalities. A three-stage linear regression model was used to assess the relationship between RMR and age, using IDEAL classification as a predictor and adjusting for sex and body composition.
Results: Resting metabolic rate averaged 1,512.4 ± 442.9 kcal/d and was lower with older age (β = -8.55, P < .001). After adjusting for age, sex, and body composition, RMR was 109.6 kcal/d lower in IDEAL than non-IDEAL participants (P < .005).
Conclusion: Individuals who are fully functional and free of major medical conditions have lower RMR than those with disease and functional impairments. These findings suggest that health status plays a role in energy use and regulation independent of age and body composition and that elevated RMR may be a global biomarker of poor health in older persons.
Keywords: aging; comorbidities; resting metabolic rate.
© Published 2014. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the U.S.A.