A recent study published in BMJ Open has found that carrying excess weight in midlife may increase the risk of frailty later in life. The research was based on data from surveys of over 4,500 Norwegian adults aged 45 or older, between 1994 and 2015. The analysis showed that those with a higher body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference in midlife were more likely to be pre-frail or frail 21 years later. Additionally, participants who gained weight or increased their waistline during the study period were more likely to be pre-frail/frail at the final follow-up visit.
The study's authors suggest that optimal BMI and waist circumference may have a protective effect against frailty in older age. Frailty is associated with falls, hospitalization, and a loss of independence, so this is an important area to consider. Additionally, lifestyle choices such as regular physical activity, reasonable nutrition, and proper sleep hygiene can have a major impact on weight gain and frailty.
This study provides an important reminder of the long-term impacts of excess weight in midlife. While the study did not take into account lifestyle changes, the findings suggest that maintaining a healthy weight and waist circumference throughout adulthood may help reduce the risk of frailty in later life.