Weight perceptions in older adults: findings from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 16:53 authored by Sarah E. Jackson, Lee Smith, Andrew Steptoe
Objectives: To explore weight perceptions in a large, nationally-representative sample of older adults, and the extent to which they differ according to age and perceived health status. Setting: England. Participants: 5,240 men and women (≥50y) participating in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2016/17). Main outcome measures: Weight perception was self-reported as too heavy, too light, or about right. Results: The majority of older adults endorsed a weight perception that matched their (objectively measured) BMI classification. However, one in ten (9.9%) older adults classified by BMI as normal-weight (18.5-24.9kg/m2) felt too light, with women at the upper end of the older age spectrum (OR=1.04, 95%CI=1.01-1.09), and men (OR=3.70, 95%CI=1.88-7.28) and women (OR=2.61, 95%CI=1.27-5.35) in poorer health more likely to do so. Almost half (44.8%) of older adults classified as overweight (25-29.9kg/m2) and one in ten (10.3%) classified as obese (≥30kg/m2) felt about the right weight, with this observed more frequently among men and women at the upper end of the older age spectrum (OR range 1.04-1.06). Conclusion: Older adults’ perceptions of their own weight generally correspond with traditional BMI cut-offs for normal-weight, overweight, and obesity. However, a substantial minority ‘underestimate’ their weight status, with those at the upper end of the age spectrum and those in poorer health more likely to do so.
Publication titleBMJ Open
- Accepted version