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The Aging Waistline: Impact of the Geriatric Obesity Epidemic on an Urban Emergency Department: Original Communication

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DOI: 10.4236/ijcm.2013.45047    3,106 Downloads   4,531 Views  

ABSTRACT

Purpose: Reviews adult emergency department (ED) visits for patients age 65 and older during one calendar year; determine the prevalence of weight classifications; identifies trends between BMI and discharge/admitting diagnoses, vital signs, and severity index.Methods: The electronic medical records system and data from the ED billing service was reviewed for an urban academic institution with an annual volume of 125,000 for patients age > 65. Using a random number table, a retrospective cohort of 328 elderly patients was selected for review, representing a convenience sample of 2.6% of elderly ED visits. Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated, using the Center for Disease Control (CDC) formula with underweight (<18.5), normal (18.5 - 24.9), overweight (25 - 29.9), and obese (≥30). Results: The majority of the cohort in this study was African-American and Hispanic (60% and 27% respectively), and there were a higher percentage of females than males (60% and 40% respectively). Approximately 29% of the patients were classified as normal weight, 35% classified as overweight, and 36% as obese. The older the patient, the more likely that patient belonged to a lower weight classification (p < 0.01). Those presenting with neurological, pulmonary or gastrointestinal complaints were more likely to be of a higher weight classification (p < 0.05). Patients who were hypertensive on arrival to the ED were more likely to be in a higher weight classification (p < 0.01). Conclusion: Those patients with a higher weight classification had a strong correlation with selected abnormal vital signs and disease presentations. EDs are important sources of care for the elderly. EDs can serve as a previously untapped resource for screening and early referral exercise programs aimed at improving physical function/ functional status and quality of life in the elderly patient population.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Cite this paper

H. Prendergast, E. Waintraub, B. Bunney, L. Gehm, C. Tyo, A. Marquez, J. Williams, A. Bailey, D. Marquez, M. Edison and M. Mackey, "The Aging Waistline: Impact of the Geriatric Obesity Epidemic on an Urban Emergency Department: Original Communication," International Journal of Clinical Medicine, Vol. 4 No. 5, 2013, pp. 268-272. doi: 10.4236/ijcm.2013.45047.

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