222899 Longitudinal Effects of Body Mass Index on Chronic Diseases and Functional Decline among Chinese Older Adults

Monday, November 8, 2010

SangNam Ahn, PhD, MPSA , Department of Social and Behavioral Health, Texas A&M University Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Hongwei Zhao, ScD , Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Texas A&M School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Matthew Lee Smith, PhD, MPH, CHES , School of Rural Public Health, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH , Social & Behavioral Health, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Charles D. Phillips, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Policy and Management, Texas A&M University Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Background. Excess body weight contributes to increased morbidity and functional declines. Nutrition transition theory attributes this to large shifts in dietary habits and physical activity patterns. This study adds to limited literature examining how increased body mass index (BMI) affects chronic diseases and functional decline in older populations internationally.

Methods. Panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey (CHNS) was examined to assess how social and economic transformation in China affected the health and nutritional status of Chinese residents. All available data from 1997, 2004, 2004, and 2006 were analyzed from adults aged 60 years or older (N=3,829). Outcome variables were chronic diseases (i.e., diabetes, hypertension) and functional decline (i.e., limitation in activities of daily living (ADL) or instrumental activities of daily living (IADL)). Covariates included BMI, general health, and behavioral and social risk factors. A population-averaged model was used to identify risk factors of health outcomes and determine the effects of increased BMI on health outcomes.

Results. Demographic characteristics indicate that 27% of respondents were overweight or obese. Approximately 30% reported having diabetes and/or hypertension, while more than 42% reported ADL or IADL limitations. The final model showed that an increased BMI raised the odds of having diabetes and/or hypertension (OR=2.31) but decreased the odds of having functional declines (OR=0.80).

Conclusion. Given the sheer size of China's aging population and its increasing rates of obesity, public health researchers and policy makers need to pay more attention to the complexities involved in understanding obesity in a global health context.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1. List risk factors that contribute to health outcomes including chronic diseases and functional decline among Chinese older adults. 2. Assess the effects of an increased body mass index on health outcomes. 3. Learn policy implications of global studies for better managing obesity and its related health outcomes in the United States.

Keywords: Obesity, International Public Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract author on the content I am responsible for because I built conceptual model, analyzed data, and wrote the abstract and manuscript with the help of co-authors.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.