Obesity Ups Geriatric Hospital, ED Admission Rates

Obesity Ups Geriatric Hospital, ED Admission Rates
Obesity Ups Geriatric Hospital, ED Admission Rates
Increasing BMI was associated with greater odds of inpatient hospital, emergency department admissions and outpatient service utilization in older patients.

SAN DIEGO — Obesity is linked with significant increases in hospitalizations, emergency department (ED) visits and use of outpatient services among geriatric patients, results of a study presented at ENDO 2015 suggest.

“There is an urgent need to control the obesity epidemic and its excessive health and economic burden on both individuals and the health care system,” Brandon Suehs, PharmD, PhD, of Comprehensive Health Insights in Louisville, Kentucky, said in a press release.

To investigate the association between BMI classification and inpatient, outpatient and ED utilization, the researchers conducted a retrospective cohort study in which they assessed BMI with ICD-9-CM status codes for 172,866 Humana Medicare Advantage members between 2008 and 2012.

The investigators classified the patients’ BMI into five categories:

  • Normal, BMI of 19 to 24.9 (21% of patients)
  • Overweight, BMI of 25 to 29.9 (37% of patients)
  • Class I obesity, BMI of 30 to 34.9 (24% of patients)
  • Class II obesity, BMI of 35 to 39.9 (10% of patients)
  • Class III obesity, BMI of 40 or higher (9%)

Increasing BMI was associated with greater prevalence of several cardiometabolic disorders, including hypertension, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, the researchers found. The use of specific medication classes, such as antihypertensives, lipid-lowering agents, antihyperglycemic agents, analgesics and antidepressants, increased with BMI class.

Class III obesity, the most severely obese group, had 3.4 times the odds of having an inpatient admission during the year and 1.4 times the odds of visiting the ED, as compared with the normal-weight group. Additionally, the investigators found that patients in the class III obesity group had a 10% higher rate of using outpatient services.

In general, the odds for inpatient admission or visiting the ED increased with greater BMI class. Moreover, data associated increasing BMI with a greater rate of inpatient admission, ED visits and outpatient health service utilization.

“We hope the study results inform broader obesity prevention strategies to improve the health of seniors,” Dr. Suehs said.


  1. Suehs B et al. Abstract THR-569. Presented at: The Endocrine Society’s 97th Annual Meeting & Expo (ENDO 2015); March 5-8, 2015; San Diego.