(HealthDay News) – Obesity does not increase mortality in elderly adults aged >85 years.

To evaluate the age-related relationship between obesity and mortality risk, Jiska Cohen-Mansfield, PhD, and Rotem Perach, of Tel Aviv University in Israel, used data from 1,369 elderly people aged 75–94 years who participated in the Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Aging Study in Israel. The Israeli National Population Registry was used to obtain mortality data at 20-year follow-up.

The researchers found that, while obesity was a significant predictor of higher mortality in adults aged 75–84 years (hazard ratio for obese versus normal weight, 1.296; P = 0.03), for older subjects, obesity actually exhibited a nonsignificant trend toward having a protective effect (hazard ratio for obese versus normal weight, 0.944; P > 0.05). Being underweight consistently predicted mortality.

“With the increasing numbers of old-old persons and of their life expectancy, extra attention is often given to avoid obesity. Current findings suggest that such an emphasis may not apply to those advancing towards old-old age, at least as far as mortality is concerned,” the authors write.

Full Text