Dieting for weight-control among older adults: The role of perceived health and perceived overweight status

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Abstract

Background: Despite the ever-growing literature on weight-control diets, data about dieting among older adults are scarce. Purpose: To describe the prevalence of weight-control dieting across age groups and weight statuses (from healthy-weight to overweight and obese). To identify cross-sectional associations of perceived health and perceived overweight status with dieting among older adults. Methods: Secondary analyses of the second and third waves of the Midlife in the US study (MIDUS). Sample included 2588 participants (40–93 years old, 54.5% females, age = 64.4 ± 11.1 years, BMI = 28.3 ± 5.9 kg/m2). Logistic regressions were used to predict dieting across age groups (independent variables: BMI, perceived health, perceived overweight status; covariates: BMI change, education, age, race). Results: As many as 15% of participants had reported dieting during the previous year. Older age was associated with less dieting among healthy weight (p =.02) and overweight (p <.001) participants, but not among participants with obesity (p =.36). Among participants younger than 75, overweight perception (vs. healthy-weight perception) was linked with higher likelihood for dieting (40–55 years: OR = 3.94[1.70–9.1]; 55–65 years: OR = 4.11[1.91–8.82]; 65–75 years: OR = 4.50[1.90–10.65]). Nevertheless, among participants older than 75, excellent (vs. good/fair/poor) perceived health was linked with higher likelihood of dieting (good vs. excellent: OR = 0.29[0.09–0.87]; fair/poor vs. excellent: OR = 0.12[0.03–0.54]). Conclusions: Older age is associated with less weight-control dieting among people without obesity. Although overweight perception may have a stronger impact on dieting during younger age, health perception may have a stronger impact on dieting during older age, suggesting that the motivation behind weight-control diets may potentially change throughout the adult lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101368
JournalEating Behaviors
Volume36
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
MIDUS was funded by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network National Institute on Aging ( P01-AG020166 ) National institute on Aging ( U19-AG051426 )

Funding Information:
MIDUS was funded by John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Research Network National Institute on Aging (P01-AG020166) National institute on Aging (U19-AG051426)

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Midlife
  • Older adults
  • Perceived health
  • Perceived overweight status
  • Weight-control diets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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