Body Mass Index (BMI) range for the older adult (>65yo): Reducing all cause mortality

Mrs Jasmine Everist1, Helena  McDonald1, Thea  Moloney1

1Peninsula Health, Frankston, Australia

Globally, the population of those aged over 65 years is increasing, and with aging comes a multifactorial increased vulnerability to malnutrition and associated concerns.

The aim of Peninsula Health was to review the literature and benchmark Victorian institutions in order to align their protocols regarding Body Mass Index (BMI) in aged persons.

A working group was formed, literature review undertaken and targeted benchmarking occurred with Victorian Health services and Universities.

The literature review revealed little support of the BMI range of 22-27kg/m2, with 8 original research articles supporting a BMI reference range of >22-27kg/m2. Literature demonstrated increased mortality rates in those with BMI<23kg/m2 and BMI<25kg/m2.

The majority of health services (8/12) and private practice clinics (2/2) surveyed utilised the BMI range of 22-27kg/m2; the one participating University utilised a BMI reference range of 24-30kg/m2. Many health services and private practice clinics (6/14) did not have a protocol to guide BMI use.

In aligning with the current body of evidence, it is now possible for Peninsula Health to classify those over 65 years as being underweight if BMI<23kg/m2, healthy weight if BMI 24-30kg/m2 and overweight if BMI>30kg/m2. Given the evolving nature of this area of research, Peninsula Health will continue to review protocols for BMI, and would welcome Victorian Health services to consider the same.


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