Retired Males aged 60 or older 2.89 times are more likely to be obese
Category Research
Writer 행정부서 (11) 윤정진
Date Modified Date : 2022.01.26
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Yang-Hyun Kim from Korea University Anam Hospital Demonstrates Correlation between Obesity and Sleep Mismatch between Weekends and Weekdays in the Korean Population

Retired Males aged 60 or older 2.89 times are more likely to be obese
Engaging in economic activities and correcting sleep mismatch may lower the risk of obesity
Findings of value for enacting policies for the elderly

In Korea, the prevalence of obesity has been steadily increasing, and the obesity rate is predicted to reach 62% for men and 37% for women by 2030. This can pose a serious threat to Korean society as well as the health of individuals.

A research team led by professor Yang-Hyun Kim from the Department of Family Medicine at Korea University Anam Hospital (Minsung Sohn, Minhee Seo, Jaeman Park, Sojeong Kim, Heewon Jung) found that Koreans with sleep irregularity, especially males aged 60 years or older who are retired and not working, have a 2.89 times greater risk of suffering from obesity. This finding indicates that engagement in economic activities is correlated with the risk of obesity.

This study was conducted using data from the Korea National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (KNHANES) in 2016. The subjects in the study were divided into subgroups according to sex (2,453 males and 3,231 females), age, and working status. The association between obesity and sleep mismatch was analyzed in each of the subgroups (those who had a sleep mismatch of over 90 min between weekdays and weekends) and expressed in terms of odds ratios.

The study revealed that males who are not economically active and have sleep irregularity have an increased risk of obesity. Moreover, sleep mismatch is associated with a 2.89 times increased risk of obesity in men over 60 years of age who were not working. Females over 60 years of age are also more likely to be obese, but the risk is not statistically significant.

The study is meaningful in that it does not simply study the correlation between sleep irregularity and obesity. Rather it analyzes the issue in a socioeconomic context to reveal the correlation between sleep and obesity. The study team recommended that efforts should be made to give retired elderly people a chance to work again or delay retirement in addition to correcting their sleep irregularity. This can be beneficial in that it can lower the prevalence of obesity in Korean men considering working status is correlated with obesity along with sleep patterns.

Professor Yang-Hyun Kim said, “This study showed the connection between sleep irregularity and obesity by extending the concept of sleep irregularity from daily sleep irregularity to sleep irregularity between weekends and weekdays. From a socioeconomic point of view, the results of this study imply that if elderly people can engage in economic activities, it could be helpful for not only their personal health but also for the overall health of society.

Professor Kim added, “In Korea, the number of elderly people has increased the fastest compared to other OECD countries, and this can become a huge socioeconomic burden. The findings from this study suggest new directions for future studies and new policies that support the elderly population.“

In this study, “obesity” is defined as BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2 in accordance with the Korean Society for the Study of Obesity’s 2020 Guidelines. Several studies have demonstrated that sleep variability over 90 min is associated with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. This study was conducted with support from the student research organization at KUCM and was published in an international academic journal.