Obesity and disability: Relation among older adults living in latin america and the caribbean

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The prevalence and incidence of both obesity and disability are projected to increase in the coming decades. The authors examined the relation between obesity and disability in older adults from 6 Latin American cities participating in the Health, Well-Being and Aging in Latin America and the Caribbean (SABE) Study (1999-2000). The sample included 6,166 participants aged 65 years or more. Data on sociodemographic factors, smoking status, medical conditions, body mass index (BMI; weight (kg)/height (m)2), and self-reported activities of daily living (ADL) were obtained. The prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30) ranged from 13.3% in Havana, Cuba, to 37.6% in Montevideo, Uruguay. Using a BMI of 18.5-<25 as the reference category and controlling for all covariates, the lowest odds ratio for ADL limitation was for a BMI of 25-<30 (odds ratio = 1.10, 95% confidence interval: 0.93, 1.30), and the highest odds ratio for ADL limitation was for a BMI of 35 or higher (odds ratio = 1.63, 95% confidence interval: 1.26, 2.11). The results indicated that obesity is an independent factor contributing to ADL disability in these populations and should be included in future planning to reduce the impact of disability on global health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1282-1288
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2010



  • Activities of daily living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Caribbean region
  • Disabled persons
  • Latin America
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology

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