Severely obese people less likely to spend last days in hospice care

A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Overweight is between 25 and 29.9. A BMI over 30 is considered obese. 

Published: 09th February 2017 10:55 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2017 10:55 AM   |  A+A-

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WASHINGTON: A study finds people who are morbidly obese are less likely to spend their last days in a home providing care and are more likely to die at home.

The study was published in journal of Annals of Internal Medicine.

“People who are more obese do sometimes feel stigma from providers and may get less care," said study lead author Dr. John Harris from the University of Pittsburgh’s school of medicine in the US.

"We know that obesity is a large and growing public health epidemic, but we know little or nothing about how obesity shapes late-life care, including nursing home care, hospice use and end-of-life care,” Casarett explained.

They tracked 5,700 medicare beneficiaries, who died between 1998 and 2012 and looked at the weight levels and whether or not someone died in hospice care.

The patients were categorised by three body mass index (BMI) measurements — 20, 30 and 40. 

A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9. Overweight is between 25 and 29.9. A BMI over 30 is considered obese. 

Someone with a BMI of 40 or more is considered morbidly — or severely — obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The results indicated that 117 severely obese patients died earlier, at an average age of 72 and almost 2,509 people with a normal weight died at an average age of 82.

The findings suggested that 55 percent of those with a BMI of 40 died at home. 

“People who are carrying more body weight at the end of life may look slightly healthier and doctors may be less likely to recognise that they're dying and recommend hospice,” Harris added. 


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