Body mass index and all‐cause mortality in older adults: A scoping review of observational studies
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In older age, body composition changes as fat mass increases and redistributes. Therefore, the current body mass index (BMI) classification may not accurately reflect risk in older adults (65+). This study aimed to review the evidence on the association between BMI and all-cause mortality in older adults and specifically, the findings regarding overweight and obese BMI. A systematic search of the OVID MEDLINE and Embase databases was conducted between 2013 and September 2018. Observational studies examining the association between BMI and all-cause mortality within a community-dwelling population aged 65+ were included. Seventy-one articles were included. Studies operationalized BMI categorically (n = 60), continuously (n = 8) or as a numerical change/group transition (n = 7). Reduced risk of mortality was observed for the overweight BMI class compared with the normal BMI class (hazard ratios [HR] ranged 0.41-0.96) and for class 1 or 2 obesity in some studies. Among studies examining BMI change, increases in BMI demonstrated lower mortality risks compared with decreases in BMI (HR: 0.83-0.95). Overweight BMI classification or a higher BMI value may be protective with regard to all-cause mortality, relative to normal BMI, in older adults. These findings demonstrate the potential need for age-specific BMI cut-points in older adults.
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