The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

4036.0: Tuesday, November 18, 2003 - 8:48 AM

Abstract #67885

Body-mass index, physical activity, decline in overall health, and development of new mobility difficulty in late middle age

Xiaoxing He, MD, MPH, Institute for Health Services Research and Policy Studies, Northwestern University, 339 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 705, Chicago, IL 60611, 312-503-0437, and David W. Baker, MD, MPH, The Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, 676 N. St. Clair Street, Room 255, Chicago, IL 60611.

Objective: To determine whether body-mass index (BMI) and regular physical activity predict a decline in overall health or development of mobility difficulties walking or climbing stairs.

Methods: Prospective cohort study of 7391 adults 51 to 61 years old in 1992 with telephone interviews conducted every two years by the Health and Retirement Study. Participants reported BMI, physical activity, overall health, and mobility difficulties. Adjusted relative risks (ARR) for developing a major decline in overall health and developing a new mobility difficulty between 1992-96 were determined with logistic regression.

Results: Overweight, obesity, and severe obesity were independently associated with having a major decline in overall health (ARR=1.30, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.64; ARR=1.36, 95% CI 1.07 to 1.73; ARR=1.49, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.14, respectively) and developing new mobility difficulties (ARR=1.28, 95% CI 1.11 to 1.46; ARR=1.75, 95% CI 1.56 to 1.97; ARR=2.43, 95% CI 1.93 to 2.97). Performing light or vigorous activities 1-2 times/week reduced the risk of a major decline in overall health (ARR 0.62 or 0.70, respectively, p<0.05 for both), and new mobility difficulties (ARR 0.69 or 0.58, respectively; p< 0.01 for both) compared to sedentary participants, but work-related physical effort was not protective. Regular light or vigorous activities had similar benefits for individuals who were normal weight, overweight, or obese.

Conclusions: In addition to obesity, being overweight increases the risk of health decline and physical difficulties among adults in late middle age. Both light and vigorous physical activity preserve physical functioning and ameliorate the adverse effects of obesity.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Obesity, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Behavior, Lifestyle and Social Determinants of Health: Session II

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA