Prevalence and Correlates of Overweight and Obesity among Older Adults: Findings from the Canadian National Population Health Survey

Mark S. Kaplan, Nathalie Huguet, Jason T. Newsom, Bentson McFarland, Joan Lindsay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Background. The prevalence of obesity among elderly persons in industrialized countries ranges from 15% to 20%. Little is known about variations of overweight within subgroups of the elderly population. This study examined the factors associated with overweight and obesity among older men and women. Methods. Data for 12,823 community-dwelling persons aged 65 and older from the 1996-1997 Canadian National Population Health Survey were examined. Predictors of overweight (body mass index [BMI] = 25.0-29.9 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI = > 30 kg/m2) relative to normal weight (BMI = 20.0-24.9 kg/m2) were examined using logistic regression analyses. Analyses were stratified by gender. The predictor variables included age, education, marital status, place of birth, region, smoking status, alcohol use, chronic conditions, physical activity, functional limitations, self-rated health, social support, and psychological distress. Results. Overall, 39% and 13% of Canadian older adults were classified as overweight and obese, respectively. Some of the risk factors for overweight were male gender, low education, being married, Canadian bom, residence in the Atlantic provinces, no use of alcohol, comorbidity, physical inactivity, and limited functional status. Risk factors for obesity were similar to those for overweight except for being unmarried; American, European, and Australian bom; lower and higher levels of alcohol use; poor self-rated health; and psychological distress. Conclusions. The results could lead to more effective weight-control interventions that are designed to promote increased physical activity and healthy eating habits among obese older individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1018-1030
Number of pages13
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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