Elderly people who are moderately or severely obese are more likely to suffer disability as a result of their weight, a new study has suggested.
Research to be presented at the American Geriatrics Society's Annual Scientific Meeting in May assessed 4,600 people with an average age of 76.
Of the participants, 39 per cent were a normal weight, 39 per cent were overweight, 15 per cent were mildly obese and six per cent were moderately or severely obese.
The study, conducted by Purdue University, found that 33 per cent of the moderately or severely obese group used personal care services to assist them in daily activities.
In contrast, 22 per cent of those who were mildly obese and 20 per cent of the overweight group needed such help.
"These findings suggest that most obesity-related increases in need for long-term care in the coming decade will be attributable to moderate to extreme obesity," lead researcher Professor Laura Sands said.
A recent study from the Lawson Health Research Institute and published in the FASEB Journal suggested that carrying extra fat around the abdomen could increase appetite as fat cells produce a hormone that signals hunger.