Reviews in Clinical Gerontology

Clinical geriatrics

Obesity in older adults: epidemiology and implications for disability and disease

Rafael Samper-Ternenta1 and Soham Al Sniha1a2a3 c1

a1 Sealy Center on Ageing, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA

a2 Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA

a3 Division of Geriatrics, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA


Obesity is a worldwide problem with increasing prevalence and incidence in both developed and developing countries. In older adults, excess weight is associated with a higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, several important cancers, and numerous other medical conditions. Obesity has also been associated with increased functional limitations, disability, and poorer quality of life. Additionally, obesity has been independently associated with all-cause mortality. The obesity epidemic has important social and economic implications, representing an important source of increased public health care costs. The aim of this review is to report the epidemiology of obesity worldwide, and the implications of obesity on disability and chronic diseases in older adults.

(Online publication October 26 2011)


c1 Address for correspondence: Soham Al Snih, Rebecca Sealy Bldg room 5.112, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555-0177, USA. Email: