Obesity and aging – methodology

The data used for the study was from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). BRFSS provides data that allows the assessment of prevalence of various behavioral risk factors and health conditions in adult population and development and evaluation of risk prevention programs (CDC, 2010). Risk factors such as tobacco use, HIV/AIDS knowledge and prevention, and fruit and vegetable consumption form aspects of the BRFSS survey which is carried out in monthly telephone interviews in all the 50 US states and District of Columbia (CDC, 2010). The Questionnaire employed consists of three parts. The first part – the core component – consists of the standard set of questions (e.g. demographic, health status, diabetes disability and tobacco use questions) asked by all states to ensure data uniformity and comparability (CDC, 2005). The second – optional CDC modules – comprise questions on specific subjects (e.g. women’s health, arthritis and cardiovascular disease) that states can elect to be constituents of the questionnaire used but some receive the support of CDC (CDC, 2005a). The final part – the state-added questions – consists of questions developed by participating states and incorporated into the questionnaire though CDC is not involved in their editing or evaluation (CDC, 2005a).

To perform various analyses on the BRFSS data CDC provides a web enabled analysis tool – WEAT – on related website (CDC, 2005). This study used the WEAT tool to calculate the effectiveness of physical activity in preventing and treatment of obesity in old age using 2005 data. The WEAT provides one with a number of analytical options. These include WEAT logistic and WEAT Crosstab (CDC, 2005b). This study used the latter test to evaluate the effectiveness of physical activity. The study conducted two analyses both using reported age (18-64, 65+), a demographic variable, as the column variable and physical activity – meets recommended physical activity as the control variable. The first analysis aimed to access the risk to obesity or overweight and effects of physical activity on this risk thus used overweight or obese risk factor, a demographic variable, as its dependent (row) variable. This followed the hypothesis that physically active individuals would be at a lower risk of obesity and overweight condition than would be inactive individuals (Brach et al., 2004; Dubnov et al., 2003). Secondly, the paper sought detailed effect of physical activity on weight loss using the BMI, a demographic variable, as the dependent (row) variable. This second analysis aimed to highlight demarcate the proportion of obese individuals from overweight individuals, factors that the analysis of risk did not indicate. All the analyses were conducted act the 95% confidence interval. Go to part 4 here.

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