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Can physical activity attenuate aging-related weight loss in older people? The Yale Health and Aging Study, 1982-1994



Can physical activity attenuate aging-related weight loss in older people? The Yale Health and Aging Study, 1982-1994



American Journal of Epidemiology 159(8): 759-767



The purpose of this analysis was to determine the longitudinal relation between physical activity and the trajectory of weight change in an older cohort (> or =65 years) living in New Haven, Connecticut, who participated in the Established Populations for the Epidemiologic Study of the Elderly between 1982 and 1994 (n=2,812). The authors hypothesized that body weight would decline over the follow-up and that physical activity would play an important role in minimizing weight loss over time. Physical activity and other covariables were self-reported at baseline, while body weight was self-reported annually over 12 years. Multivariable random effects regression demonstrated a curvilinear trajectory of weight loss per year with an accelerated loss at older ages. Baseline body weight was 155 (standard deviation, 30) pounds (70 (standard deviation, 14) kg) for those who survived the entire follow-up and was 153 (standard deviation, 32) pounds (70 (standard deviation, 15) kg) for those who did not. Each 1-unit increase in baseline total activity score minimized this aging-related weight loss, but this relation was most pronounced among those with chronic disease who did not survive the entire follow-up period (n=973; 0.15 pounds (0.07 kg) per year). These data suggest that, among frail older people, even modest levels of physical activity can attenuate the rate of aging- and disease-related weight loss.

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Accession: 048432811

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PMID: 15051585

DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwh105



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