Obesity Trends in US Nursing Homes

May 7, 2018

Increases in prevalence of obesity have been reported in the US population as a whole, but trends of obesity in the nursing home (NH) resident population have not been less studied. Also, existing studies covering obesity in this population focus on newly admitted residents.

Presenters at the AGS conference conducted a study to evaluate the prevalence of obesity, and all grades of obesity, in a US NH between 2005 and 2015. Minimum Data Set (MDS) 2.0 and MDS 3.0 were employed.

Residents included were those who were at the facility for at least 100 days. Residents were underweight (BMI < 18.5), normal-to-overweight (18.5<=BMI< 35), Class II (35 BMI < 40) and Class III (BMI >= 40) obesity. The annual prevalence of obesity was the ratio of the total number of obese NH residents divided by the total number of residents in a year.

Presenters noted whether obese residents had special clinical, functional care needs using the most recent data from 2015. Applying the 2015 data, logistic regression models were used to assess the associations of age groups, categories of race/ethnicity, and gender. Models were further examined separately for men and women.

They found that between 2005 and 2015, the obesity prevalence of NH residents increased from 22% to 28%. Female residents had higher prevalence of obesity than male residents, increasing from 4% to 7%. In 2015, Class III obese residents were younger than the others. In addition, Class III obese residents had more chronic conditions but had lower prevalence of functional decline and cognitive impairment. Based on the logistic regression, older residents were less likely to be obese; black residents were more likely to be obese.

Overall, authors were able to conclude that, in addition to seeing an increase in obesity prevalence in the study time period, obese residents had special patterns of comorbidities and functional status compared with other residents. Authors said this data is useful for facilities in their planning of how to provide quality care to this increasing population in NHs.

Amanda Del Signore

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