Body mass index of elderly Europeans

  • Ene-Margit Tiit Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science, University of Tartu, Tartu
  • Kai Saks Faculty of Medicine, University of Tartu, Tartu
Keywords: BMI, overweight, underweight, obesity, older people, elderly people, Europeans


SHARE data about older (aged 50 and more) Europeans are used to assess the adequacy of the traditional scale for deciding if a person is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. The results of measurements and calculations in 17 countries (15 from the EU, including Estonia, plus Switzerland and Israel) demonstrate that for older European people the traditional scale is somewhat biased. The scale used and suggested by geriatricians for people aged 65 and more is also more appropriate for people aged 50–64. By this scale, the people having BMI 23.0–29.9 are taken as normal. This classification is, by SHARE data, consistent with people’s self-esteem on their health, quality of life and coping with everyday life.


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