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More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, and adults over age 64 are no exception. While rates decline slightly at age 75, many seniors are vulnerable to carrying extra pounds due to a combination of factors including slower metabolisms, a tendency to become more sedentary with age and a culture that makes being slender increasingly difficult.
The good news is that you can take steps to lose weight. And losing even some weight can make a big difference to your health and how you feel. You may not have to lose as much as you might think in order to start seeing health benefits.
In response to this controversial study, the American Journal of Epidemiology published research in March contradicting Flegal’s findings. Using data from the U.S. National Health Interview Survey, Ryan Masters and his colleagues argued people ages 75 to 84 with a grade 1 obesity have a 59 percent higher chance of mortality than their healthy peers. They also stated that risks in obese people increase with age.
Fortunately, researchers are beginning to understand the differences between the wrong mix and a healthy one, as well as the specific factors that shape those differences. They hope to learn how to cultivate this inner ecosystem in ways that could prevent—and possibly treat—obesity, which doctors define as having a particular ratio of height and weight, known as the body mass index, that is greater than 30. Imagine, for example, foods, baby formulas or supplements devised to promote virtuous microbes while suppressing the harmful types. “We need to think about designing foods from the inside out,” suggests Jeffrey Gordon of Washington University in St. Louis. Keeping our gut microbes happy could be the elusive secret to weight control.
Nevertheless, when the evidence from multiple observational studies is consistent, the association is more likely to be real. Many observational studies have provided consistent evidence that people who have lower weight gain during adulthood have lower risks of colon cancer, kidney cancer, and—for postmenopausal women—breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancers (34).
Shekelle, P. G., M. L. Hardy, S. C. Morton, et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Ephedra and Ephedrine for Weight Loss and Athletic Performance: A Meta-Analysis.” Journal of the American Medical Association 289 (March 26, 2003): 1537-1545.
It is well known that obesity contributes to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. In addition, obese individuals may suffer from hypertension, arthritis and other conditions that make movement difficult or painful. However, according to the Mayo Clinic, even modest increase in activity can help people lose weight, and yoga provides modified routines that can be a significant part of that process. According to a 2005 study published in the journal “Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine,” yoga practice resulted in weight loss most strongly in study subjects who were overweight.
Based on body mass index calculations from surveyed participants’ self-reported height and weight, about a third of the baby boomers are obese, compared with about a quarter of both older and younger responders. Only half of the obese boomers say they exercise regularly. An additional 36 percent of boomers are overweight, though not obese, which isn’t much better.
The liver is a large organ in the upper right abdomen that aids in digestion and removes waste products from the blood. Liver disease includes the following conditions: Cirrhosis, or scarring of the liver Inflammation (hepatitis) from infectious (hepatitis B, hepatitis C) or non-infectious causes (chemical or autoimmune hepatitis) Tumors, benign and malignant (liver cancer) Metabolic disorders.
Compete blood count, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, C-reactive protein level, serum glucose level, thyroid-stimulating hormone level, urinalysis, age-appropriate cancer screening, chest radiography, abdominal ultrasonography
If you’ve got phrases like “Gaining weight is part of the aging process” or “Everybody my age is overweight” on repeat, it’s time for new mantras, says Cooper. “It’s important to avoid slipping into a mindset that will prevent you from losing weight,” he says. Find a crowd of like-minded peers who want to get fit and stay that way so that you surround yourself with as much support as possible. Perhaps you can find (or form!) a walking group (here are 5 easy ways to start your own walking group), or talk a few friends into joining you for water aerobics at the local pool. “Too often, what limits us from achieving our weight loss goals is all psychological.”
The percentage of overweight and obese Americans 65 and older has grown: 72% of older men and 67% of older women are now overweight or obese. Baby boomers started reaching age 65 in 2011, and the report, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, also shows many of these older Americans are not financially prepared to pay for long-term care in nursing homes. That’s concerning, since America’s aging population, which is now around 40 million, is estimated to double by 2050.
Mauro Russo, managing director at Ferrero, the maker of the Kinder Surprise, said the law had been erroneously applied to their product because the toy is an intrinsic part of the treat, not a “promotional gadget,” as described by the legislation, that seeks to stimulate sales. He also disputed the notion that the product is unhealthy, noting that each egg contains 110 calories and that few consumers purchase more than one or two a year. “Kinder Surprise’s impact on obesity is very marginal,” he said.
To help the nation’s 13 million obese seniors, the Affordable Care Act included a new Medicare benefit offering face-to-face weight loss counseling in primary care doctors’ offices. It is free for patients, with no copay. But while Medicare now pays doctors to counsel their obese patients, only 50,000 people participated in 2013, the latest year for which data is available.
Genetic: It has been determined that obesity runs in families, meaning that those who have family members with weight issues are more likely to become overweight or obese themselves. Multiple research studies have shown a genetic link, specifically in the way in which a person’s body stores and processes fat.
Bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA): There are two methods of the BIA. One involves standing on a special scale with footpads. A harmless amount of electrical current is sent through the body, and then percentage of body fat is calculated. The other type of BIA involves electrodes that are typically placed on a wrist and an ankle and on the back of the right hand and on the top of the foot. The change in voltage between the electrodes is measured. The person’s body fat percentage is then calculated from the results of the BIA. Early on, this method showed variable results. Newer equipment and methods of analysis seem to have improved this method.
She was right: Elena Acosta eventually lost 35 pounds and has kept it off for nearly two years. “I feel so much more energetic ,” she says. Her husband is also down 35 pounds and has reduced his risk for diabetes. “[My doctor] is quiet now and very happy with the way I am,” he says.
Haflon NH, Larson K, Slusser W. Associations between obesity and comorbid mental health, developmental and physical health conditions in a nationally representative sample of US children aged 10 to 17. Acad Pediatr. 2013; 13(1):6-13
The healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $190 billion per year. Discrimination and mistreatment of person with obesity is widespread and, sadly, often considered socially acceptable.
Eating more calories than you use. The amount of calories you need will vary based on your sex, age, and physical activity level. Find out your daily calorie needs or goals with the Body Weight Planner.
“Job strain occurs when people experience high demands and low control in their jobs. My research has shown that females are more likely to experience this type of work stress, and Gen X has a significantly higher risk. This is a concern given the known association between high job strain, coronary heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obesity, and type 2 diabetes,” she says.
Jump up ^ Metcalf B, Henley W, Wilkin T (2012). “Effectiveness of intervention on physical activity of children: systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled trials with objectively measured outcomes (EarlyBird 54)”. BMJ (Clinical Research Ed.) (Review, Meta-analysis). 345: e5888. doi:10.1136/bmj.e5888. PMID 23044984.
As societies become increasingly reliant on energy-dense, big-portions, and fast-food meals, the association between fast-food consumption and obesity becomes more concerning. In the United States consumption of fast-food meals tripled and food energy intake from these meals quadrupled between 1977 and 1995.
The incidence of hypertension, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome intensifies with age, and aging per se is closely linked to increased prevalence of most of the abnormalities contributing to the metabolic syndrome (3). The incidence of the metabolic syndrome rises with increasing BMI, and a broader waist circumference is more common in men older than 65 years than in younger age-groups (3). The occurrence of the metabolic syndrome reaches peak levels in the 6th decade for men and the 7th decade for women, and a decline is noted only in the 8th decade for men and for some women in different ethnic groups (3). As recently outlined by the American Heart Association Professional Education Committee of the Council for High Blood Pressure Research, older age and obesity are two of the most powerful risk factors for uncontrolled hypertension (4), and high blood pressure, in turn, is a major determinant of mortality and stroke incidence, particularly in senior years. BMI and abdominal obesity are significantly and independently associated with an increase in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and obesity contributes to the development of hypertension in diabetes in all ages, including old age (5). Hence, separation of abdominal adiposity from its closest sequels, i.e., the metabolic syndrome, hypertension, and diabetes, is somewhat artificial, especially later in life. Adiposity strongly influences these risk factors, which, with the passage of time, may directly dominate the occurrence of complications. The strongest support for such a sequence of events is the fact that attempted weight loss is associated with lower all-cause mortality, regardless of age (6).
Phenylpropanolamine (Acutrim, Dextarim) is the only nonprescription weight-loss drug approved by the FDA These over-the-counter diet aids can boost weight loss by 5%. Combined with diet and exercise and used only with a doctor’s approval, prescription anti-obesity medications enable some patients to lose 10% more weight than they otherwise would. Most patients regain lost weight after discontinuing use of either prescription medications or nonprescription weight-loss products.
Since 2007, diabetes treatment programs have remained largely unchanged while the rates of two main risk factors — obesity and old age — have risen. As America’s population grows, similarly, rates of diabetes will rise. On top of America’s increasing population, the percentage of Americans who are age sixty-five and older is climbing, as the baby boomer generation enters their later years.
A number of additional health outcomes have been linked to excess weight. These include the development of gallstones in men (40) and women, (41) as well as gout, (42, 43) chronic kidney disease, (44) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. (25,45)