Ten-year changes in anthropometric characteristics of elderly Europeans

C.P.G.M. de Groot, G. Enzi, C. Matthys, O. Moreiras, W. Roszkowski, M. Schroll

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OBJECTIVE: Assess longitudinal (10-y) changes in height, body weight and circumferences in elderly Europeans. DESIGN: Longitudinal assessments including baseline measurements taken in 1988/1989 which were repeated in 1993 (follow-up) and in 1999 (Finale). SETTING: Longitudinal data were collected in nine European research towns: Hamme/Belgium (H/B), Roskilde/Denmark (R/DK), Haguenau/France (H/F), Romans/France (R/F), Padua/Italy (P/I), Culemborg/the Netherlands (C/NL), Vila Franca de Xira/Portugal (V/P), Betanzos/Spain (B/E), Yverdon/Switzerland (Y/CH). SUBJECTS: Using standardised methodologies data were collected from a random stratified sample of elderly-men and women born between 1913 and 1918 including a total of 662 subjects in 1999. RESULTS: On average stature had decreased by 1,5-2 cm. Mean weight changed by -2.6 kg to - 4.2 kg in only three towns. An increase of at least 5 kg of body weight had taken place in 13 % of both men and women whereas 23% of men and 27% women had lost at least 5 kg of their baseline weight. Such weight loss over the first 4 years of follow-up was associated with higher mortality rates in men (crude RR 2.2, p<0.0001). Serial changes in arm circumference were small but waist circumference had increased by 3-4 cm. CONCLUSIONS: Whilst small-to-modest average changes in height, body weight and circumferences emerged over SENECA's 10-year follow-up period, considerable gains and losses of body weight had occurred in a significant proportion of the SENECA populations, whereby early weight loss might be predictive of subsequent survival.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-8
JournalJournal of Nutrition, Health and Aging
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • Anthropometry
  • Elderly
  • Europe
  • Longitudinal


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