Descriptive data on lifestyle, anthropometric status and mental health in italian elderly people.
ABSTRACT The objective of this paper is to provide descriptive information on anthropometric status, pathological conditions, cognitive impairment and lifestyle in apparently healthy elderly Italian people.
In order to recruit the volunteers for the ZENITH study, 359 Italian participants (167 men and 192 women), aged between 70 and 85 years, free living in Rome, were selected. Volunteers underwent a full clinical examination, anthropometric measurements (height, weight), a lifestyle questionnaire and mental health assessment (cognitive impairment and depression).
The prevalence of overweight and obesity was high (57% and 22% in men; 43% and 27% in women). Obesity was associated with low socio-economic profile in about 40% of participants. Although the sample was selected by family doctors and was apparently healthy, after medical screening the presence of several pathologies, particularly diabetes in 21% of participants was observed. There was a low prevalence of cognitive impairment in 4% of men and 7% of women and possible depression in 9% of men and 19% of women. The lifestyle questionnaire showed that most of their time was spent in light activities such as reading, watching TV or playing cards and significant differences between sex and BMI categories were observed (P=0.000).
The results confirm the increasingly sedentary lifestyle of modern populations and demonstrate the need for sensitive and individualised strategies to design appropriate health promotion and disease prevention programs for older adults.