Journal List > J Korean Neuropsychiatr Assoc > v.52(6) > 1017661

Lee, Choi, Yun, Kim, Lim, Kim, and Kim: Association between Obesity Indices and MMSE-K in Elderly



The aim of this study was to investigate associations between obesity indices and cognitive functions using data from individuals older than 65 years in South Korea.


A total of 151 Koreans older than 65 years participated in this study voluntarily. Obesity was determined using body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR). Cognitive function was evaluated using the Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE-K). The participants were divided into four groups according to BMI : underweight (BMI<18.5), normal (18.5≤BMI<23.0), overweight (23.0≤BMI<25.0), and obesity (BMI≥25.0), and two groups according to WHR : normal (WHR<18.5) and abdominal obesity (WHR≥0.8). Baseline characteristics were compared among different BMI or WHR subgroups.


Older age and smoking habits showed an association with poor cognitive function. Among different BMI groups, the overweight group had the highest scores of MMSE-K ; the item scores for time and place orientation (4.48±0.770 and 4.80±0.500) and attention/calculation (4.00±1.258) as well as total score (25.88±2.877). Overweight in BMI showed an association with better cognitive function (ORadjusted=0.098, 95% confidence interval=0.017-0.577).


In this study, the overweight group measured by BMI showed better cognitive function than other groups. Overweight in elderly might be acceptable in order to maintain cognitive performance. Further investigation regarding the underlying mechanism explaining the relationship between cognitive function and body weight will be needed.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Baseline characteristics according to the cognitive function

* : p<0.05 by the correlation analysis (Pearson's correlation coefficient=-0.286), : p<0.001 by the one-way analysis of variance. MMSE-K : Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination

Table 2
Cognitive function using MMSE-K and item scores among different BMI groups

* : p<0.05 by the 1-way analysis of variance. MMSE-K : Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination, BMI : Body mass index

Table 3
Association between BMI and poor cognitive function (MMSE-K<24)

Logistic regression analysis : Wald Δ with d.f.=1 was used. Model 1 : adjustment made with socio-demographic characteristics (age, sex, education levels, marital status and children) ; Model 2 : adjustment made with lifestyle characteristics (smoking habits, alcohol consumption and exercises) ; Model 3 : adjustment made with clinical status (hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart disease, stroke, psychiatric history and trauma) ; Model 4 : adjustment made with all factors above. * : p<0.05. OR : Odds ratio, CI : Confidence interval, MMSE-K : Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination, BMI : Body mass index


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