Ageing International

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 104–117 | Cite as

Coexistence of Obesity and Anemia in Older Mexican Adults

  • Rafael Samper-Ternent
  • Alejandra Michaels-Obregon
  • Rebeca Wong


Developing countries in Latin America (LA) are experiencing rapid aging as a result of advances in medical interventions. This rapid aging has not occurred with comparable improvements in standards of living. Chronic conditions are becoming highly prevalent while exposure to infectious communicable diseases is very common. This unique situation where communicable and non-communicable diseases coexist in the presence of low socioeconomic status place countries in LA in a unique epidemiological situation. Mexico presents a very good example where the impact of this situation on health warrants further analysis. We use data from the Mexican National Health and Nutrition Survey (ENSANut 2006), a cross-sectional study representative of all urban and rural areas of Mexico. A total of 5,605 adults older than 60 years of age with valid values for Body Mass Index and Hemoglobin were analyzed. We first included a descriptive analysis of the coexistence of anemia and obesity by age, gender and characteristics of the living environment. We reported the weighted percentages for each covariate by each of four nutritional condition categories (obese and anemic, only-obese, only-anemic, not obese and not anemic). We used multinomial logit regressions to determine the association of socioeconomic characteristics, health status and the living environment with the presence of the three nutritional condition categories. In the ENSANut cohort 10.3% of older adults are anemic, 25.0% are obese and 2.6% are both anemic and obese. Approximately 62% has neither anemia nor obesity. Within the 38% that fall in the three nutritional condition categories, the co-existence of obesity and anemia appears to be associated with metropolitan area residence, living alone, being male, having relatively high wealth, and reporting two or more chronic health conditions. Analyzing the effect of the covariates to distinguish between outcome categories, living environment, age, gender, wealth, and smoking show a significant effect when comparing across the three nutritional categories. Older Mexican adults with both obesity and anemia have a different profile compared to that of adults with only one of the conditions. Future studies need to do a careful clinical evaluation of this group and design clinical interventions to avoid complications. Additionally, social support initiatives that target specific groups of older adults according to their health and social needs must be established.


Anemia Obesity Latin America Mexico Mixed epidemiological regime 



This work was partly supported by grant R01HD051764-03 (PI A. Pebley) of the National Institute on Aging and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Infrastructure support was provided by the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rafael Samper-Ternent
    • 1
  • Alejandra Michaels-Obregon
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rebeca Wong
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Sealy Center on AgingUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.WHO/PAHO Collaborating Center on Aging and HealthUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA

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