A new study from Australia finds that people aged 65 and over with a body mass index in the overweight range live longer and suggests perhaps the World Health Organization guidelines on BMI may not be suitable for older people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines overweight as having a body mass index (BMI) greater than or equal to 25, and a BMI of 30 or over as obese. BMI is equal to a person’s weight in kilos divided by the square of their height in meters (kg/m2).
Caryl Nowson, professor of nutrition and aging at Deakin University in Melbourne, and colleagues looked at links BMI and risk of death in people aged 65 and over, and found those with the lowest risk of death had a BMI of around 27.5.
They also found those with a BMI between 22 and 23 – considered to be the normal weight range – had a significantly higher risk of death.
“Our results showed that those over the age of 65 with a BMI of between 23 and 33 lived longer, indicating that the ideal body weight for older people is significantly higher than the recommended 18.5-25 ‘normal’ healthy weight range.”
Prof. Nowson says for people aged 65 and over, by the WHO standards, being overweight is not associated with an increased risk of death, and that “it is those sitting at the lower end of the normal range that need to be monitored, as older people with BMIs less than 23 are at increased risk of dying.”
Source: Medical News Today.