Objectives To evaluate the association between currently recommended guidelines and commonly used clinical criteria for body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and all-cause mortality in frail older women. Design Longitudinal prospective cohort study. Setting Women's Health Initiative (WHI) - Observational Study. Participants A sample of women aged 65-84 with complete data to characterize frailty in the third year of WHI follow-up (N = 11,070). Measurements Frailty phenotype was determined using the modified Fried criteria. Information on anthropometric measures (BMI, WC, WHR) was collected in clinical examinations. Cox proportional hazards models were used to estimate the effect of BMI, WC, and WHR on mortality adjusted for demographic characteristics and health behaviors. Results Over a mean follow-up of 11.5 years, there were 2,911 (26%) deaths in the sample. Women with a BMI from 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2 (hazard rate ratio (HR) = 0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.73-0.88) and those with a BMI from 30.0 to 34.9 kg/m2 (HR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.71-0.88) had lower mortality than those with a BMI from 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m2. Women with a WHR greater than 0.8 had higher mortality (HR = 1.16, 95% CI = 1.07-1.26) than those with a WHR of 0.8 or less. No difference in mortality was observed according to WC. Stratifying according to chronic morbidity or smoking status or excluding women with early death and unintentional weight loss did not substantially change these findings. Conclusion In frail, older women, having a BMI between 25.0 and 34.9 kg/m2 or a WHR of 0.8 or less was associated with lower mortality. Currently recommended healthy BMI guidelines should be reevaluated for frail older women.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2016, The American Geriatrics Society.
- Body mass index
- Women's health
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology