, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 89-98
Date: 13 May 2011

A systematic review of the literature concerning the relationship between obesity and mortality in the elderly

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



Obesity is a risk factor for chronic diseases and premature mortality, but the extent of these associations among the elderly is under debate. The aim of this systematic literature review (SR) is to collate and critically assess the available information of the impact of obesity on mortality in the elderly.


In PubMed, there are three-hundred twelve papers on the relationship between obesity and mortality among older adults. These papers were analysed on the basis of their abstracts, and sixteen studies were considered suitable for the purpose of the study. It was possible to perform a pooled estimate for aggregated data in three different studies.


The results of this SR document that an increased mortality in obese older adults. The limitation of BMI to index obesity and the noted protective action of a moderate increase in BMI on mortality are highlighted. Waist circumference is an indicator of central adiposity and potentially as good a risk factor for mortality as BMI in obese elderly adults.