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      Socioeconomic trajectories of body mass index and waist circumference: results from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing

      BMJ Open
      BMJ Publishing Group
      body mass index, waist circumference, trajectories, wealth, ageing

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          To explore age trajectories of body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) and to examine whether these trajectories varied by wealth.


          Nationally representative prospective cohort study.


          Observational study of people living in England.


          7416 participants aged 52 and over of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (2004–2012).

          Primary outcome measures

          BMI and WC assessed objectively by a trained nurse.

          Main exposure measure

          Total non-pension household wealth quintiles defined as financial wealth, physical wealth (such as business wealth, land or jewels) and housing wealth (primary and secondary residential housing wealth), minus debts.


          Using latent growth curve models, we showed that BMI increased by 0.03 kg/m 2 (95% CI 0.02 to 0.04, p<0.001) per year and WC by 0.18 cm (95% CI 0.15 to 0.22, p<0.001). Age (linear and quadratic) showed a negative association with BMI and WC baseline and rates of change, indicating that older individuals had smaller body sizes and that the positive rates of change flattened to eventually become negative. The decline occurred around the age of 71 years for BMI and 80 years for WC. Poorest wealth was significantly related to higher baseline levels of BMI (1.97 kg/m 2 95% CI 0.99 to 1.55, p<0.001) and WC (4.66 cm 95% CI 3.68 to 2.40, p<0.001). However, no significant difference was found in the rate of change of BMI and WC by wealth, meaning that the age trajectories of BMI and WC were parallel across wealth categories and that the socioeconomic gap did not close at older ages.


          Older English adults showed an increase in BMI and WC over time but this trend reversed at older old age to display a sharp decrease. At any given age wealthier people had more favourable BMI and WC profile.

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          Most cited references30

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          The obesity epidemic in the United States--gender, age, socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and geographic characteristics: a systematic review and meta-regression analysis.

          This review of the obesity epidemic provides a comprehensive description of the current situation, time trends, and disparities across gender, age, socioeconomic status, racial/ethnic groups, and geographic regions in the United States based on national data. The authors searched studies published between 1990 and 2006. Adult overweight and obesity were defined by using body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)(2)) cutpoints of 25 and 30, respectively; childhood "at risk for overweight" and overweight were defined as the 85th and 95th percentiles of body mass index. Average annual increase in and future projections for prevalence were estimated by using linear regression models. Among adults, obesity prevalence increased from 13% to 32% between the 1960s and 2004. Currently, 66% of adults are overweight or obese; 16% of children and adolescents are overweight and 34% are at risk of overweight. Minority and low-socioeconomic-status groups are disproportionately affected at all ages. Annual increases in prevalence ranged from 0.3 to 0.9 percentage points across groups. By 2015, 75% of adults will be overweight or obese, and 41% will be obese. In conclusion, obesity has increased at an alarming rate in the United States over the past three decades. The associations of obesity with gender, age, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status are complex and dynamic. Related population-based programs and policies are needed.
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            Cohort profile: the English longitudinal study of ageing.

            The English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) is a panel study of a representative cohort of men and women living in England aged ≥50 years. It was designed as a sister study to the Health and Retirement Study in the USA and is multidisciplinary in orientation, involving the collection of economic, social, psychological, cognitive, health, biological and genetic data. The study commenced in 2002, and the sample has been followed up every 2 years. Data are collected using computer-assisted personal interviews and self-completion questionnaires, with additional nurse visits for the assessment of biomarkers every 4 years. The original sample consisted of 11 391 members ranging in age from 50 to 100 years. ELSA is harmonized with ageing studies in other countries to facilitate international comparisons, and is linked to financial and health registry data. The data set is openly available to researchers and analysts soon after collection (http://www.esds.ac.uk/longitudinal/access/elsa/l5050.asp).
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              Health and economic burden of the projected obesity trends in the USA and the UK.

              Rising prevalence of obesity is a worldwide health concern because excess weight gain within populations forecasts an increased burden from several diseases, most notably cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancers. In this report, we used a simulation model to project the probable health and economic consequences in the next two decades from a continued rise in obesity in two ageing populations--the USA and the UK. These trends project 65 million more obese adults in the USA and 11 million more obese adults in the UK by 2030, consequently accruing an additional 6-8·5 million cases of diabetes, 5·7-7·3 million cases of heart disease and stroke, 492,000-669,000 additional cases of cancer, and 26-55 million quality-adjusted life years forgone for USA and UK combined. The combined medical costs associated with treatment of these preventable diseases are estimated to increase by $48-66 billion/year in the USA and by £1·9-2 billion/year in the UK by 2030. Hence, effective policies to promote healthier weight also have economic benefits. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

                Author and article information

                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                20 April 2019
                : 9
                : 4
                : e025309
                [1] departmentEpidemiology and Public Health , University College London , London, UK
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Paola Zaninotto; p.zaninotto@ 123456ucl.ac.uk
                Author information
                © Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Re-use permitted under CC BY. Published by BMJ.

                This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to copy, redistribute, remix, transform and build upon this work for any purpose, provided the original work is properly cited, a link to the licence is given, and indication of whether changes were made. See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                : 09 July 2018
                : 18 January 2019
                : 05 March 2019
                Funded by: National Institute of Aging (R01AG017644) and a consortium of UK government departments coordinated by the Economic and Social Research Council.;
                Custom metadata

                body mass index,waist circumference,trajectories,wealth,ageing
                body mass index, waist circumference, trajectories, wealth, ageing


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