Obesity Increases Risk of Macular Degeneration

AMD associated with higher Body Mass Index, Waist Circumference, and Waist-Hip Ratio

People with early or intermediate stages of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) make up a large and growing segment the elderly population.

Researchers interested in identifying preventative measures to help this group lessen their risk of advanced AMD conducted a survey of 261 participants from a hospital-based retinal practice.  Participants were aged 60 years or older, with some sign of nonadvanced AMD and visual acuity of 20/200 or better in at least 1 eye.

The results of the study showed that obesity (measured in body mass index) greatly increases the risk for progression to the advanced forms of AMD. 

In addition:

  • Higher waist circumference was associated with a 2-fold increased risk for progression, with a significant trend for increasing risk with a greater waist circumference
  • Higher waist-hip ratio also increased the risk for progression
  • More physical activity tended to be associated with a reduced rate of progression (25% reduction for 3 times per week vigorous activity compared with no activity)

Study authors believe that the results provide new information regarding modifiable factors for individuals with the early or intermediate stages of this disease.  Although overall and abdominal obesity increased the risk for progression to advanced AMD, increasing physical activity tended to decrease risk.

Learn other natural preventative measures to lesson your risk of AMD

SOURCE:  Progression of Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Seddon, et al, Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121:785-792