|Examining the Relationships between Excess Body Weight, Health and Disability
|Year of Publication
|Waidmann, TA, Freedman, VA, Himes, CL, Ahmad, S
|U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
|Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation
|Health Conditions and Status
The recent rise in the prevalence of obesity and overweight in the overall United States population has raised many concerns about the future. In addition to concerns about the medical costs of treating obesity-related illness, an apparent correlation between obesity and disability has led to concern that the recent declines in rates of disability among the elderly may cease or reverse. In this report, we explore the relationship between excess weight and obesity in a series of cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses in an attempt to evaluate these concerns. Using data from the 1998-2004 waves of the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), we find evidence that the risks of developing difficulties with activities of daily living (ADLs) does increase with the prevalence of obesity, but the effects appear to be less dramatic than the effects on the limitations in physical functioning, which can be precursors of ADL disability. Further, we find only a weak relationship between excess weight and the onset of difficulties with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs).
Obesity/Weight/ADL and IADL Impairments