Background: The number of elderly people is increasing worldwide, and elevated body mass index is a common problem that occur with elderly people, which can be directly or indirectly affected by level of physical activity and gender. So, it is essential to study the effect of both physical activity and gender on body mass index in elderly people.
Material and methods: A cross-sectional, observational study was conducted on 120 elderly Jordanian people who live in Amman (62 women; 58 men) and evaluated for body mass index. Those participants were 40 elderly persons who attended the gym at least twice a week for the last 2 years, and 80 elderly who were home resident or physically inactive. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data about personal, social, health and life-style information including the daily activities and the anthropometric measurements for the study participants.
Results: The results of this study showed that as elderly people become physically inactive, their body mass index will increase to become as overweight or obese. The results of this study also showed that body mass index of 30 and more was associated with gender, with majority of female elderly (50%) having body mass index of 30 or more.
Conclusion: Physical activity should be maintained by both genders in order to prevent obesity, primarily in women as they are more likely to become obese that men. Furthermore, body mass index should not exceed 30 in elderly. Physical activity is essential in order to obtain healthy weight.