Although we all know that obesity in adults is a very great risk factor in overall health and mortality rates it may not always be the same in older adults. In fact a new study seems to show that as people get older there is a wide range in BMI with noth very low and very high BMI levels being unhealthy.
In the study done by analyzing many studies and looking at the results (a meta-analysis, which I am a big fan of). In looking at this, and it makes sense, if people are older and are either very heavy with a BMI over 33, which would be about 245 lbs for a person 6 feet tall. Also people under a BMI of 23, which is less that 165 lbs for a 6 foot tall person. were at a greater risk.
This is what they had to say in the report:
The association between all-cause mortality and BMI created a U-shaped curve with a broad base. The “nadir of the curve for BMI and mortality was between 24.0 and 30.9, with the lowest risk being between 27.0 and 27.9,” wrote Caryl A. Nowson, PhD, of Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and her co-authors, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
They said that mortality risk did not increase with excess in this population until BMI was ?33.
Risk of mortality was highest at a BMI lower than 23, the authors said.
So what do we take from this study of studies? I have very close relationship with this kind of information as my father died just a few weeks ago. We all know about the “heavy guy” that is at a risk for heart attack because of bad eating, hardening of the arteries as they get filled with plaque from fatty food. But in my dads case he just withered away and had no strength or extra fat to keep him healthy.
The fact is that as people get older they tend to have health issues that can make eating very difficult and once someone with a very low level of exercise and gets sick they just don’t have the real reserves to fight infections. This can happen to anyone but in the elderly this is a much greater risk and can easily become a life danger.