Weight loss in older adults associated with risk of death, study shows


Losing weight in older adults may increase the risk of death, according to new research.

A cohort study published Monday in the journal JAMA Network Open looked at more than 16,000 adults in the US and Australia.

Weight loss was found to be associated with an increased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and “other life-limiting conditions” among healthy older individuals, the authors from the University of Melbourne, Monash University and others said.

“Physicians should be aware of the importance of weight loss, especially in older men,” it said.

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Study participants, recruited between March 2010 and December 2014, were aged 70 years and over in Australia and 65 years and over in the US.

Data analysis was conducted from April 2022 to September 2022.

Adults were weighed annually, with researchers warning doctors to be aware of a “significant association” between relatively modest weight loss of more than 5% and mortality.

Older men who lost between 5%-10% of their weight – compared to those with a stable weight – had a 33% higher risk of mortality, and those who lost more than 10% had a 289% higher risk of mortality. .

A man measures his waist with a tape measure. (iStock)

Women who lost between 5%-10% of their weight were 26% more likely to die, and those who lost more than 10% were 114% more likely.

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The observation that weight loss was associated with mortality in men may be a result of the different body composition characteristics of men and women, the authors said.

For example, men have a higher percentage of body muscle compared to body fat than women.

A “likely” explanation for the findings is that weight loss may be an early indicator of the presence of various life-shortening diseases, they said, noting that weight loss in this age group is primarily was associated with loss of appetite.

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Those who gained weight did not show an increased risk of mortality in the group.

“Further research will be needed to more precisely determine the relationship between weight loss and the onset of malignancies and whether clinical or laboratory tests can identify individuals for whom early intervention may be effective,” it said. has gone

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