News & Research | Study: Precipitation of fragility

News & Research |  Study: Precipitation of fragility

Norwegian researchers at the University of Oslo’s Department of Nutrition (UiO) analyzed data from a Tromsø survey and found another reason to keep weight off throughout life: lugging around extra pounds around your waist when you’re in middle age and later is associated with an increased risk of becoming frail as an older person.

Some studies have suggested a relationship between a high body mass index (BMI) and frailty. But we were surprised by our findings when we looked at BMI and waist circumference together. Our findings suggest that people who had a higher BMI and more around the waist at the start of the study had an increased likelihood of becoming frail or frail compared to other groups later in life, says researcher Shreeshti Uchai of the Nutrifrail project to NTB.

The research was published this week in The Recognized British Medical Journal (BMJ).

“Asthenic” is a term used to say something about the condition of a person who is weak, whether they are ill. The biologically vulnerable person is older than his age suggests.

Lots of data

More than 4,500 men and women ages 45 and older were followed over 21 years for the survey. The link between obesity and physical fitness was found by looking at BMI and waist measurement, then checking for signs of frailty over the years.

Five criteria were highlighted as characteristics of frailty: unintentional weight loss, fatigue, decreased grip strength, decreased walking speed and decreased level of physical activity.

Compared with those who maintained a normal weight, those whose BMI was obese before 30 years had a 2.5 times greater risk of being frail after 20 years.

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Those with a high or very high waist circumference doubled the risk of frailty.

Turns heads

Previous studies have shown that being overweight in old age carries an increased risk of frailty. This study is one of the few that has looked at how weight and waist size affect over time, and it has data from participants when they were in their 40s.

Most people think that muscle weakness, labored breathing, and brittle bones — and osteoporosis — is something that comes naturally and inexorably with age. However, research from Norway shows that persistent ‘cake stops’ and ‘car loops’ can leave people more vulnerable.

– That’s why it’s important to monitor not only BMI, but also waist circumference, throughout puberty, says Ochai.

The findings and article published in the British Medical Journal have garnered international attention, with articles in, among others British Daily Mail.

– It was a good surprise for all of us on the project. I am pleased that our findings have reached a wider audience. Hopefully, this will contribute to more people thinking about adopting a healthy lifestyle for healthy aging.

(© NTB)

Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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