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Journal of Aging Research
Volume 2013, Article ID 905094, 11 pages
Research Article

The Impact of Body Mass Index and Weight Changes on Disability Transitions and Mortality in Brazilian Older Adults

1Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1206 South 4th Street, Champaign, IL 61820, USA
2Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1240 N. 10th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53205, USA
3School of Public Health, Departament of Epidemiology, University of São Paulo, Avenida Dr. Arnaldo, 715 Pinheiros, 01246-904 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
4School of Nursing, Department of Medical-Surgical Nursing, University of São Paulo, Avenida Dr. Enéas de Carvalho Aguiar, 419 3o. andar, Sala 318, Cerqueira Cesar, 05403-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Received 2 November 2012; Revised 7 March 2013; Accepted 13 March 2013

Academic Editor: Heather Keller

Copyright © 2013 Flávia Cristina Drumond Andrade et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aim of this study was to examine the association between body mass index and weight changes on disability transitions and mortality among Brazilian older adults. Longitudinal data from the Health, Well-Being, and Aging in Latin America and the Caribbean Study conducted in São Paulo, Brazil (2000 and 2006), were used to examine the impact of obesity on disability and mortality and of weight changes on health transitions related to disability. Logistic and multinomial regression models were used in the analyses. Individuals who were obese were more likely than those of normal weight to have limitations on activities of daily living (ADL), instrumental activity of daily living (IADL), and Nagi's limitations. Obesity was associated with higher incidence of ADL and IADL limitations and with lower recovery from Nagi's limitations. Compared to those who maintained their weight, those who gained weight experienced higher incidence of ADL and Nagi's limitations, even after controlling for initial body mass index. Higher mortality among overweight individuals was only found when the reference category was “remaining free of Nagi limitations.” The findings of the study underline the importance of maintaining normal weight for preventing disability at older ages.