Body weight status and onset of functional limitations in U.S. middle-aged and older adults

Ruopeng An, Yuyan Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background The sweeping obesity epidemic could further increase the incidence of functional limitations in the U.S. rapidly aging population. Objective To examine the relationship between body weight status and onset of functional limitations in U.S. middle-aged and older adults. Methods Study sample came from 1992 to 2010 waves of the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative longitudinal survey of community-dwelling middle-aged and older adults. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from self-reported height/weight. Functional limitations were classified into physical mobility limitation (PM), large muscle function limitation (LMF), activities of daily living limitation (ADL), gross motor function limitation (GMF), and fine motor function limitation (FMF). Mixed-effect logistic regressions were performed to estimate the relationship between prior-wave body weight status and current-wave onset of functional limitations, adjusted for individual characteristics and survey design. Results Prior-wave body weight status prospectively predicted onset of functional limitation, and the relationship showed a U-shaped pattern. Compared with their normal weight counterparts, the odds ratios (ORs) in underweight (BMI < 18.5) and obese (BMI ≥ 30) adults were 1.30 (95% confidence interval, 1.05-1.62) and 2.31 (2.11-2.52) for PM, 1.20 (0.96-1.50) and 1.63 (1.49-1.79) for LMF, 2.02 (1.66-2.46) and 1.40 (1.28-1.54) for ADL, 1.96 (1.60-2.39) and 1.77 (1.62-1.93) for GMF, and 1.66 (1.37-2.02) and 1.34 (1.22-1.46) for FMF, respectively. For PM, LMF and GMF, the impact of obesity appeared more pronounced in women, whereas that of underweight more pronounced in men. Conclusions Proper weight management during aging is crucial in preventing functional limitations in middle-aged and older adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)336-344
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Health Journal
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Disability
  • Functional limitation
  • Obesity
  • Older adult
  • Underweight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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