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Obesity in older adults: relationship to functional limitation

Jensen, Gordon L; Hsiao, Pao Ying

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2010 - Volume 13 - Issue 1 - p 46–51
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32833309cf
Ageing: biology and nutrition: Edited by Ronni Chernoff and Tommy Cederholm

Purpose of review The present review is intended to provide a critical overview of recent investigations of obesity among older persons with emphasis upon associated functional limitations, potential for intervention, and a future research agenda.

Recent findings Obesity is growing in prevalence among older persons. The association between obesity and functional decline is well documented. Recent findings suggest possible contributions of obesity-associated inflammatory milieu, sarcopenia, and impairment of muscle function/strength to adverse functional outcomes. A growing body of literature supports consideration of moderate weight reduction to secure improved metabolic and functional parameters for obese older persons.

Summary Obesity is associated with an unfortunate burden of chronic disease, functional limitation, and poor life quality. In view of the growing numbers of afflicted older individuals, there must be research priority to discern how obesity impacts function so that appropriate prevention and treatment strategies may be adopted.

Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, USA

Correspondence to Gordon Jensen, MD, PhD, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, 110 Chandlee Laboratory, University Park, PA 16802, USA Tel: +1 814 865 0108; e-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.