(HealthDay News) – Obese older women are at higher risk of death, disease, and disability before age 85, relative to healthy-weight women, according to a study published online Nov. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

To examine the effect of obesity on late-age survival in women without disease or disability, Eileen Rillamas-Sun, PhD, MPH, from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, and colleagues evaluated data from 36,611 women (mean baseline age, 72.4 years), participating in the Women’s Health Initiative observational study and clinical trial programs, who could have reached age >85 years if they survived to the last outcomes evaluation on Sept. 17, 2012.

The researchers found that underweight and obese women were more likely to die before 85 years of age, compared to healthy-weight women. The risks of incident disease and mobility disability were increased for overweight and obese women. The adjusted odds ratios of mobility disability were 1.6 for overweight women and 3.2, 6.6, and 6.7 for women with class I, II, and III obesity, respectively, compared with healthy-weight women. The risks of earlier death, incident disease, and mobility disability were increased with waist circumference >88cm.

“Overall and abdominal obesity were important and potentially modifiable factors associated with dying or developing mobility disability and major chronic disease before 85 years of age in older women,” the authors conclude.

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