Weight loss and weight gain in Parkinson disease

Shadi Ghourchian, Ann L. Gruber-Baldini, Sunita Shakya, John Herndon, Stephen G. Reich, Rainer von Coelln, Joseph M. Savitt, Lisa M. Shulman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Parkinson disease (PD) has been associated with both weight loss and gain in different stages of the disease. Our study aimed to determine the prevalence and associations with weight change over two years based on 3% and 5% weight change. Methods: In this longitudinal analysis, weight at baseline and follow-up was used to classify patients into groups of weight loss, stable, and weight gain. Differences between these groups at baseline and then with change over time were tested. Results: The sample was 668 patients with mean(SD) age 66.1(10) and disease duration 5.3(5.4) years. Using 3% weight change criteria: 32.6% lost, 23.1% gained, and 55.7% had stable weight. Using 5% criteria: 22.6% lost, 15.7% gained, and 61.7% had stable weight. Age was associated with both 3% and 5% change in weight. Other associations with 5% weight change were disease duration, Total and Motor Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, Older Americans Resource and Services disability, and Hoehn & Yahr staging. The effects of 3% weight loss on Motor UPDRS, IADLs, and depression, and the effects of 5% weight loss on IADLs remained statistically significant when controlling for baseline differences in age, levodopa use, and Total UPDRS. Conclusion: PD patients are more likely to experience 3% than 5% weight change and this lower threshold of weight change was associated with greater disease severity and disability over time. Attention to more subtle weight change may help identify those at greater risk of disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-36
Number of pages6
JournalParkinsonism and Related Disorders
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Disability
  • Parkinson disease
  • Severity
  • Weight change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Neurology


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