March 15, 2010

AUSTRIA: Older people may benefit from being slightly overweight

. VIENNA, Austria / The Austrian Times / Health / March 15, 2010 Being slightly overweight may protect older people from potentially dangerous infections, a study by Vienna Medical University’s Institute for Social Medicine has concluded. A team led by Thomas Dorner conducted the study. He said today: "It is known that being underweight or obese poses a higher risk for older patients. Our study is a little stone that fills in part of the mosaic." The team analysed data about 619 residents with an average age of 87.6 at a large Vienna pensioners’ home, comparing body weight to frequency of infection. People with a body-mass index (BMI) lower than 20 had an average of 62 per cent more infections than overweight people with a BMI between 24 and 27.9. Patients of normal weight with a BMI between 20 and 23.9 had 84 per cent more infections and the obese, with a BMI over 28, had 54 per cent more infections. The team said "the results show both below average weight and obesity in old people’s homes lead to higher rates of infection. The most-dangerous conditions are dementia, circulatory problems and lung infections." [rc] Source: The Austrian Times