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Indian Journal of Medical Sciences
Medknow Publications on behalf of Indian Journal of Medical Sciences Trust
ISSN: 0019-5359 EISSN: 1998-3654
Vol. 58, Num. 4, 2004, pp. 162-163

Indian Journal of Medical Science Vol. 58 No. 4, April 2004 , pp. 162-163

Letter to Editor

Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity amongst Elderly Patients attending a Geriatric Clinic in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Delhi, India

Preeti Singh, Umesh Kapil, A B Dey*

Department of Human Nutrition and *Department of Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Ansari Nagar, New Delhi - 110029, India. E-mail:

Code Number: ms04028


Elderly subjects now constitute 6.7% of India's population and this proportion is likely to rise.1 Elderly people in high and middle income groups are vulnerable to over nutrition and obesity as aging is usually associated with a decrease in physical activity and an increase in sedentary lifestyle.2 Limited studies have been conducted in India to assess the prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst elderly population and hence the present hospital based pilot study was conducted to document the data on this aspect. A total of 206 consecutive subjects attending a Geriatric clinic of the out patient department of a tertiary care hospital in Delhi (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) were enrolled. The informed consent of the subjects to participate in the study was taken. A pretested semistructured questionaire was administered to all the subjects to elicit information on their socio demographic profile, dietary pattern and anthropometry. Dietary consumption pattern was assessed using the food frequency methodology.3 Detailed anthropometric measurements were conducted of weight and standing height by utilising standard methodology.4 The mean age of the study subjects was 68.5 years. Majority (62.6%) of the subjects were males and belonged to upper lower and upper middle socio- economic status. The distribution of subjects according to their Body mass index is depicted in Table 1. It was found that 34% of men and 40.3% of women were overweight and obese, respectively. In the present study we found that there was a high consumption of foods rich in dietary fiber like green leafy vegetables, other vegetables and roots and tubers. However, the consumption of costly protective foods like milk, milk products and fruits was nil or occasional in 30% of the elderly subjects. The results of the present study revealed that overweight and obesity highlight an emerging health problem amongst elderly in Delhi. The prevalence of obesity was higher in females as compared to males. A community based study conducted amongst elderly subjects in urban slums of Delhi reported a lower prevalence of overweight and obesity than our study.1 This could be possibly due to the poor socio economic status of subjects included in this study. The results of the present study indicate a need to undertake multicentric studies with larger sample size to assess the prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst the elderly in India, so that appropriate interventional strategies can be developed during the adult life.


  1. Gopalan HS. Nutritional status of the elderly in urban slums of Delhi. NFI Bulletin 2004;25:7.
  2. Ahluwalia N. Aging, nutrition and Immune function. J Nutr Health Aging 2004; 8:2-6.
  3. Thimmayamma BVS. A handbook of schedules and guidelines in Socio-economic and Diet surveys. National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad: Indian Council of Medical Research; 1987. p. 18-23.
  4. Jelliffe BD. The assessment of the Nutritional status of the community. Geneva: World Health Organisation; 1966. p. 63-78.

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