What is it about?

As a marker of central adiposity, measurement of waist circumference is not influenced by limb sarcopenia (unlike body mass index), which is relevant among older adults with age-related sarcopenia. We aimed to compare the relative prevalence and factors associated with obesity defined by waist circumference versus body mass index, and to characterize their associations with cardiovascular structure and function in older adults in ageing.

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Why is it important?

Body weight among older adults reflects a combination of overall health status and processes of aging-induced weight loss, such as sarcopenia. Therefore, the assessment of obesity based on body mass index in older adults who may have body mass losses due to sarcopenia, may inadequately identify older adults at risk of obesity-related cardiovascular disease. Our findings show that waist circumference identified higher prevalence of obesity, possibly related to central adiposity. Across body mass index categories, waist circumference identified more adverse measurements in myocardial relaxation, aerobic capacity and left atrial structure.


Obesity and ageing are major health challenges of the 21st century. Obesity increases the risk of death from any cause and from cardiovascular disease in adults, while age is a well-established cardiovascular risk factor. Waist circumference, and not, body mass index, was independently associated with adverse alterations in cardiovascular ageing among older adults. Appropriate assessment of obesity based on waist circumference in older adults may more adequately identify older adults at risk of obesity-related cardiovascular disease.

Angela Koh
National Heart Centre Singapore

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Obesity in Older Adults and Associations with Cardiovascular Structure and Function, Obesity Facts, January 2022, Karger Publishers,
DOI: 10.1159/000521729.
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