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Collaborative Success Stories: Scale Back


Overcommitment can lead to weight problems in retirees.

Research has shown that staying active reduces depression and improves health among retirees. However, University of Missouri researcher Dr. Angela Curl cautions that overcommitting increases the odds of being underweight or overweight.

Curl collaborated with Dr. James Hinterlong of Florida State University to analyze data from a longitudinal health and retirement study. The two examined older adults who were engaged in one or more productive roles: paid employment, formal volunteering, informal volunteering, or parental caregiving.

The researchers found that individuals who engaged in multiple roles were more likely to become underweight or overweight than their less active counterparts. They theorize that engagement in multiple productive roles reduces time for meal preparation and consumption, resulting in skipping meals or eating food of poor nutritional quality.

The scientists’ findings can inform practitioners and clinicians working to promote healthy body mass index for older adults.

Dr. Angela Curl is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work and a researcher at MU’s Interdisciplinary Center on Aging.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine