Determinants of Weight Loss among Middle-Aged and Older Adults: Evidence from Costa Rica and England

Laura Blue, Princeton University

Doctors often recommend weight loss to alleviate the risk of chronic disease, but studies at the population level show a positive association between weight loss and mortality. We test whether the presence of clinical illness may explain this positive association among middle-aged or older adults in two longitudinal surveys: one in Costa Rica and one in England. We define “weight loss” as BMI change <-1.0 points between two survey waves, and use logistic regression models to estimate the association of weight loss with six major disease diagnoses at baseline and with the same six conditions newly emerging between survey waves, adjusting for age, sex, smoking status, and initial BMI. In England, diabetes diagnosis is associated with weight loss. In Costa Rica, lung disease diagnosis is associated with weight loss. We find no association between weight loss and other measured clinical conditions, including cancers or heart disease.

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Presented in Poster Session 7