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Jin-Gyu Jung 1 Article
Non-linear relationship between body mass index and self-rated health in older Korean adults: body image and sex considerations
Seok-Joon Yoon, Jin-Gyu Jung, Soon-Ki Ahn, Jong-Sung Kim, Jang-Hee Hong
Epidemiol Health. 2023;45:e2023061.   Published online June 20, 2023
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2023061
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AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between body mass index (BMI) and self-rated health (SRH) in older adults aged over 65 years while examining the influence of self-perceived body image (SBI) and sex.
METHODS
Raw data were obtained from the Korea Community Health Survey, which included BMI measurements of Koreans aged over 65 years (n=59,628). Non-linear relationships between BMI and SRH were analyzed separately for each sex using restricted cubic splines while controlling for SBI and other confounding variables.
RESULTS
Men showed a reverse J-shaped association, while women showed a J-shaped association between BMI and poor SRH. However, including SBI in the model changed this association for men to an inverted U-shape showing a negative direction, with the highest risk of poor SRH observed in the underweight to overweight range. For women, a nearly linear positive relationship was observed. Regardless of BMI, those who perceived their weight as not “exactly the right weight” had a higher risk of poor SRH than those who perceived their weight as “exactly the right weight” in both men and women. Older men who thought they were much too fat or too thin had similar highest risks of poor SRH, whereas older women who thought they were too thin had the highest risk of poor SRH.
CONCLUSIONS
The findings of this study emphasize the importance of considering sex and body image perceptions when assessing the relationship between BMI and SRH in older adults, especially in men.
Summary
Korean summary
자가 평가 건강 상태 (self-rated health, SRH)와 체질량지수는 각각 건강에 많은 관련이 있는 것으로 밝혀져 있다. 하지만 둘 사이의 관계는 연구마다 다양하게 나타나 있고, 노인들을 대상으로 한 연구도 많지 않다. 노인들은 본인들의 체중을 낮게 평가하는 경향이 있어 둘 사이 관계를 살펴볼 때 자기 인지 체형에 대한 고려가 필요하며, 성별에 따른 영향도 역시 고려해봐야 한다. 본 연구에서는 체질량지수로 파악한 비만의 정도에 관계없이 남성과 여성 모두에서 자기 인지 체형이 정상인 경우에 좋지 않은 SRH를 가질 위험성이 낮았다. 남성에서는 체질량지수와 SRH의 관계가 불분명하게 나타났고 자기 인지 체형이 더 중요한 요인으로 보인다. 한편 여성에서는 체질량지수가 증가함에 따라 SRH도 나빠지는 경향을 보였다. 이에 노인들의 비만과 관련된 교육에 있어서는 자가 인지 체형과 체질량지수를 이용한 비만의 기준에 대해 포함하는 것이 중요하다.
Key Message
Previous research has not fully explored the relationship between BMI, SBI, and SRH in older adults. Our study, using big data, found that the relationships differed between men and women. Those who perceived their weight as ‘exactly the right weight’ had the lowest risk of poor SRH. In men, BMI had a weak effect on SRH, while in women, the risk of poor SRH increased as BMI increased. We recommend that healthcare providers should educate older adults about BMI standards and help them identify their SBI for effective obesity counseling.

Epidemiol Health : Epidemiology and Health