What is the normal weight range for older adults?

Audrey K. Chun, MD
Geriatric Medicine
America's obesity epidemic is constantly in the news and is an issue that should concern you because being overweight or obese is associated with conditions that can seriously impact your health and independence, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis.

However, the "proper" weight isn't a black-and-white issue for older adults -- some studies suggest that older people who are overweight may be just as healthy, or even healthier, and live just as long, or longer, than their normal-weight peers. In addition, being underweight at age 65 has been linked with poor health and a shorter life expectancy. Other research indicates that the body mass index (BMI) thresholds for overweight and obesity may be too restrictive for people who are age 70 and older.

That isn't to say that you can afford to take chances with your weight, since the majority of evidence points towards most chronic health conditions being exacerbated when one is overweight, and improved by weight loss. But it may indicate that the "healthy" weight range for older adults is higher than for younger people, so discuss weight management with your doctor before you start a weight loss program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.