People with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher are considered obese. The term “obesity” is used to describe the health condition of anyone significantly above his or her ideal healthy weight. Don’t be discouraged by the term. It simply means you are 20% or more above your ideal weight, and you are not alone.
Following a sensible diet can help prevent excess weight gain. But it’s also important to note that older adults occasionally have naturally occurring loss of taste or difficulty chewing that can make adhering to certain dietary recommendations challenging.
Severe obesity afflicts between 4% and 6% of all youth in the United States, and the prevalence is increasing. Despite the serious immediate and long-term cardiovascular, metabolic, and other health consequences of severe pediatric obesity, current treatments
Baseline investigations include laboratory studies and imaging. Recommended laboratory tests include complete blood count, basic metabolic panel, liver function tests, thyroid function tests, C-reactive protein levels, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, glucose measurement, lactate dehydrogenase measurement, and urinalysis.1 Chest radiography and fecal occult blood testing should also be performed. Abdominal ultrasonography may be considered.1
A retrospective chart review in a 718-bed long-term care facility in the eastern United States, where 41 residents (24 women with a mean age of 80 years) had recently lost weight found that more than 75% of them had been prescribed a medication that could potentially contribute to weight loss (Box 2).2 However, when reviewing possible causes of weight loss, no physicians changed medications in an attempt to reverse this problem. Instead, many ordered additional medications to help stimulate appetite.
Obese people consistently under-report their food consumption as compared to people of normal weight. This is supported both by tests of people carried out in a calorimeter room and by direct observation.
Some people have tried combining more than one weight-loss drug or combining a weight-loss drug with other drugs for the purposes of losing weight. The safety and effectiveness of such drug “cocktails” is not known.
Hedlund J, Hansson L-O, örtqvist Å. Short-and long-term prognosis for middle-aged and elderly patients hospitalized with community-acquired pneumonia: impact of nutritional and inflammatory factors. Scand J Infect Dis 1995; 27: 32–37.
Luckily, many weight-loss options are available, even for people who have tried earnestly but unsuccessfully to lose weight through diet, exercise, or prior weight-loss surgery. At the Houston UT MIST Center for Bariatric and Metabolic Surgery, our team of specialists can help you understand the causes and health risks of obesity, as well as the wide range of treatment options available to help you reach your target weight-loss goal and prevent obesity-related health risks.
Bittman is hardly alone in his reflexive dismissals. No sooner had McDonald’s and Burger King rolled out their egg-white sandwich and turkey burger, respectively, than a spate of articles popped up hooting that the new dishes weren’t healthier because they trimmed a mere 50 and 100 calories from their standard counterparts, the Egg McMuffin and the Whopper. Apparently these writers didn’t understand, or chose to ignore, the fact that a reduction of 50 or 100 calories in a single dish places an eater exactly on track to eliminate a few hundred calories a day from his or her diet—the critical threshold needed for long-term weight loss. Any bigger reduction would risk leaving someone too hungry to stick to a diet program. It’s just the sort of small step in the right direction we should be aiming for, because the obese are much more likely to take it than they are to make a big leap to wholesome or very-low-calorie foods.
Jump up ^ Satcher D (2001). The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity. U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Office of Surgeon General. ISBN 978-0-16-051005-2.
Diuretic herbs, which increase urine production, can cause short-term weight loss but cannot help patients achieve lasting weight control. The body responds to heightened urine output by increasing thirst to replace lost fluids, and patients who use diuretics for an extended period of time eventually start retaining water again anyway. In moderate doses, psyllium, a mucilaginous herb available in bulk-forming laxatives like Metamucil, absorbs fluid and makes patients feel as if they have eaten enough. Red peppers and mustard help patients lose weight more quickly by accelerating the metabolic rate. They also make people more thirsty, so they crave water instead of food. Walnuts contain serotonin, the brain chemical that tells the body it has eaten enough. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) can raise metabolism and counter a desire for sugary foods.
A new federally funded national study has been designed to answer this sort of question, according to Freedman. The National Health and Aging Trends Study led by Johns Hopkins University researchers, is following more than 8,000 older Americans annually, to explore how their daily lives change as they age. Rather than relying exclusively on reports from participants, researchers are also giving short performance tests to measure physical and cognitive function.
For the better part of 71 years, Joe Acosta ate what he wanted or what his wife prepared for him – often, large portions of fried foods. As a result, he carried 30-some pounds of extra weight and flirted with diabetes. “I was having problems watching what I put in my body,” says Acosta, a retired U.S. Postal Service employee in Brooklyn, New York.
In addition to suffering from poor physical health, overweight and obese children can often be targets of early social discrimination. The psychological stress of social stigmatization can cause low self-esteem which, in turn, can hinder academic and social functioning, and persist into adulthood. While research is still being conducted, there have been some studies showing that obese children are not learning as well as those who are not obese. Further, physical fitness has been shown to be associated with higher achievement.
Larson-Meyer DE, Heilbronn LK, Redman LM, Newcomer BR, Frisard MI, Anton S, Smith SR, Alfonso A, Ravussin Effect of calorie restriction with or without exercise on insulin sensitivity, beta-cell function, fat cell size, and ectopic lipid in overweight subjects. Diabetes Care. 2006;29:1337–1344. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
It’s best to work muscles to the point of fatigue, without overstraining, while taking enough time between workouts to allow the muscles to rest and recover. (Some examples of strength training exercises can be seen in Kathy Coover’s at-home workout. See KC Workout.pdf.)
Dr. Ryan Masters and Dr. Bruce Link at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in collaboration with Dr. Daniel Powers at the University of Texas, published the results of the study online this week in the American Journal of Epidemiology.
Because unintentional weight loss is a nonspecific condition and no published guidelines exist for evaluation and management, the appropriate workup, if any, is difficult to determine. This article focuses on the evaluation, diagnosis, and potential treatments of unintentional weight loss in patients older than 65 years.