Obese older women may be more prone to frailty

07/06/05

Obesity is associated with frailty in obese older women, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. Frailty, a condition that occurs in some older people, is characterized by physiological vulnerability and increased risk of falls, personal dependency, and mortality.

The study, conducted by the Women's Health and Aging Studies group, analyzed data from 599 women aged 70-79 years with a body mass index over 18.5 kg/m. Those classified as overweight showed a significant association with pre-frailty (a precursor condition to frailty), while being obese was associated with both pre-frailty and frailty.

A pattern of defining frailty indicators was observed in all frail women in the study, including slowness, weakness, and low activity.

In addition to its association with obesity, this research demonstrated that frailty is associated with diabetes, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular occlusive disease, and osteoarthritis. With the increasing levels of obesity in America, older adults may have to face greater risk of frailty in addition to obesity related disease, say researchers.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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