Korean J Fam Pract.  2020 Dec;10(6):436-442. 10.21215/kjfp.2020.10.6.436.

Association between Functional Decline and Weight Change in Elderly Population

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Osan Hankook Hospital, Osan, Korea


Functional decline in the elderly is a major problem contributing toward a low quality of life and increasing economic and social costs. Several risk factors such as weight loss are associated with functional decline. This study aimed to investigate how weight changes in aged people affect functional decline.
Using the 5th–6th panel data sets from the Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging (KLoSA), we selected the consecutive respondents who showed no decline in activities of daily living (ADL) in the 5th panel data. We defined functional decline as the presence of one or more deficits in the ADL items. Data were analyzed by the t-test, Chi-square test, and multivariate logistic regression analysis. In addition, we also examined the relationship between weight changes and instrumental activities of daily living (I-ADL).
A total of 4,256 respondents (mean age, 75.35 years) were included in the study, of whom were 1,738 (42.87%) male and 2,316 (57.13%) female. A total of 202 (4.75%) respondents showed a decline in ADL. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that weight gain was irrelevant to functional decline (all P-values >0.05). However, in cases of weight loss, there were significantly increased risks of ADL and I-ADL impairment (all P-values <0.001).
The results indicate that weight loss in the elderly is related to an increased risk of functional decline. Thus, when we see elderly patients who complain of weight loss, we should determine its cause and administer an appropriate treatment before it leads to actual functional impairment.


Weight loss; Aged; Activities of Daily Living; Korean Longitudinal Study of Aging
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