Background: The findings from previous studies exploring the association between BMI and
cognitive function in the elderly are conflicting. The purpose of the present study is twofold; to verify
the association between BMI and cognitive functions and examine whether this association is impacted
by height, when adjusted for possible covariates.
Methods: The data for this study, consisted of 2287 older adults aged 60 years and above, drawn from a
nationally representative population-based survey entitled “Determinants of Wellness among Older Malaysians:
A Health Promotion Perspective” conducted in 2009.
Results: The mean age of the respondents was 68.7 (SD=6.6) years. The average score of cognitive
function, measured by MMSE was 24.5 (SD=5.6). About 40% of the respondents were classified as
overweight. Results of the multiple linear regression analysis revealed a significant association between
BMI and cognitive function (Beta=.10, p<.001). The Factorial ANCOVA revealed significant interaction
effect between BMI and height on cognitive function (F= 10.8, p<.001), after adjusting for possible
Conclusion: The findings from the current study indicating the positive association between BMI and
cognitive function depends on height, therefore it is suggested that short people might be targeted for