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Chubby boomers face greater disability

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A recent study found that higher obesity rates could be increasing disability rates among those between the ages of 60 and 69 the Los Angeles Times reports. The study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, is the first to suggest the end of a two-decade trend of improving disability rates, according to author Teresa E. Seeman, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

“The hope was, this was a portent of good things to come as this population got larger. But ours is the first data to suggest disability rates may be going up. If it’s true, it certainly suggests the baby boomers, whatever health benefits they’ve enjoyed up until now, may not enjoy such a rosy older age,” she said.

The study analyzed data from two historical health and nutrition surveys from 1988 to 1994, and from 1999 to 2004. It found lower disability rates among people 80 or older; however, rates rose among people in their 60s. The greatest increases were among the obese or overweight.