Anthropometric Aspects and Common Health Problems in Older Adults



The fast-growing numbers of older people worldwide and their health needs is coming under greater scrutiny, especially in developing countries where the rate of such growth is in the highest range. When compared to other age groups, nutritional problems are the most prevalent within older age group. Anthropometry is one of the ideal tools for nutritional assessment, either for under- and over-nutrition since it is cheap, easy to use and practical even in remote communities, comparable and requires no need for any sophisticated laboratory test or staff training. Although the traditional body mass index is commonly used for nutritional assessment both in clinical and research practices, its denominator, height, decreases rapidly in older age giving rise to a falsely high value in older people especially those who suffer from kyphoscoliosis. An alternative set of anthropometric measurements, namely, demiquet for older men and mindex for older women, is developed to compensate for this fault. Apart from nutritional assessment, more studies recently also highlight the potentials of anthropometry in assessing some other common health risks in older people such as atherosclerosis-related disorders, cognitive decline, osteoporosis, poor activity of daily living and all-cause mortality. However, in view of the physiologic aging changes and other confounding factors, the information found in younger age groups cannot be projected to and used directly in older adults. Some alternative anthropometric measurements and their interpretation must be recognized and developed.


Body Mass Index Waist Circumference Nutritional Assessment Skinfold Thickness Nutritional Parameter 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Activity of daily living


Body mass index


Mid-arm circumference


Mid-arm muscle circumference


Mini-Mental State Examination




Osteoporosis Self-Assessment Screening Tool for Asians


Thiamin pyrophosphate


Waist circumference


Waist–hip ratio


World Health Organization



The author would like to thank Dr. William M. Honsa, Jr. BS. PhD. for his attention in checking the whole manuscript for language and grammar.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj HospitalMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand

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