Sticking to your treatment plan. Changing a lifestyle you may have lived with for many years can be difficult. Be honest with your doctor, therapist or other health care providers if you find your activity or eating goals slipping. You can work together to come up with new ideas or new approaches.
Senior exercisers speak with Dennis T. Villareal, MD, while participating in a study to find effective ways to boost physical function and reduce frailty in the elderly. Both were obese when the study began but lost weight through a combination of diet and exercise.
While the obesity health problems in this section are usually not life-threatening, they can significantly impact your quality of life. Regarding quality of life, the Journal of Public Health published a study demonstrating that the higher your obesity level, the lower your quality of life regardless of whether or not any diseases are present (3).
The study included 6636 individuals (3750 women) aged 55 years and older from the population-based Rotterdam Study. We developed multistate life tables by using prevalence, incidence rate and hazard ratios (HR) for three transitions (free-of-CVD-to-CVD, free-of-CVD-to-death and CVD-to-death), stratifying by the categories of body mass index (BMI) at baseline and adjusting for confounders.
Jump up ^ Oreopoulos A, Padwal R, Kalantar-Zadeh K, Fonarow GC, Norris CM, McAlister FA (July 2008). “Body mass index and mortality in heart failure: A meta-analysis”. Am. Heart J. (Meta-analysis, Review). 156 (1): 13–22. doi:10.1016/j.ahj.2008.02.014. PMID 18585492.
You also need strength training activities at least two days a week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Strength training will prevent you from losing muscle as you age. Get the full benefit of strength training by completing eight to 12 repetitions until it’s difficult to complete a repetition without getting help. Lifting weights, resistance bands, heavy gardening or yoga are examples of strength training activities for older women.
BMI provides the most useful population-level measure of overweight and obesity as it is the same for both sexes and for all ages of adults. However, it should be considered a rough guide because it may not correspond to the same degree of fatness in different individuals.
Your emotions, and how you handle them, also matter. Many people eat when they’re mad, sad, bored, or stressed. Weight problems can add to that. If you feel badly or are self-conscious about your body, that can hold you back from the full life that people of all sizes deserve. In turn, you eat more, seeking comfort.
Hormones that are released during sleep control appetite and the body’s use of energy. For example, insulin controls the rise and fall of blood sugar levels during sleep. People who don’t get enough sleep have insulin and blood sugar levels that are similar to those in people who are likely to have diabetes.
There is some debate, however, about whether it’s good for elderly people to lose weight, even if they are obese. Some studies have found an association between weight loss in seniors and mortality risk, but Villareal says many of those studies did not distinguish between voluntary weight loss and involuntary weight loss that may be related to illness.
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How they spend their time. Making activity and exercise an integrated part of everyday life is a key to achieving and maintaining weight loss. Starting slowly and building endurance keeps individuals from becoming discouraged. Varying routines and trying new activities also keeps interest high.
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During the Renaissance some of the upper class began flaunting their large size, as can be seen in portraits of Henry VIII of England and Alessandro dal Borro. Rubens (1577–1640) regularly depicted full-bodied women in his pictures, from which derives the term Rubenesque. These women, however, still maintained the “hourglass” shape with its relationship to fertility. During the 19th century, views on obesity changed in the Western world. After centuries of obesity being synonymous with wealth and social status, slimness began to be seen as the desirable standard.
Despite claims that obesity is not harmful in older individuals, several large-scale studies, such as the 10-year follow-up of the National Institutes of Health–AARP cohort (1), indicated that both overweight and obesity, at all ages and in both sexes, particularly in those individuals who had never smoked and who had no history of disease, are linked to increased mortality (1,2,7). Although the relative escalation in risk associated with a high BMI may decline with advancing age, the absolute rise in mortality rates associated with a high BMI is still much greater in elderly subjects, simply due to increased death rates in this age range (2). This relationship may no longer exist for the very old, in whom mortality rates may be driven by malignancy or aging of the cardiovascular tree that evolved throughout life. In this extreme age range, body weight most likely reflects both overall health status and the process of aging-induced weight loss. However, this cannot be extrapolated to the older population at large or viewed as evidence that high BMI is generally beneficial in the 6th to the 8th decades of life.
Dietary modification is the cornerstone of treating cardiovascular disease in older adults who are obese. Grundy (2004) has described obesity as a major underlying factor contributing to atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) and a factor associated with multiple other ASCVD risk factors, including elevated blood pressure, hypertriglyceridemia, low high-density lipoproteins, high cholesterol, and high fasting plasma glucose. It is also a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Even though there is a strong association between obesity and ASCVD, the relationship underlying the mechanism is not well understood. The fact that obesity acts on so many metabolic pathways, producing so many potential risk factors, makes it challenging to delineate the specific mechanism by which obesity contributes to ASCVD. Gundy suggested that the fundamental question for controlling cardiovascular diseases related to obesity is: how can we intervene at the public health level to reduce the high prevalence of obesity in the general population. He added that indeed, “This approach offers the greatest possibility for reducing the cardiovascular risk that accompanies obesity” (p. 2600). The widely disseminated Healthy People 2010 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d.) challenges individuals, communities, professionals, and indeed all of us, to take specific steps to reduce obesity to ensure that good health, as well as long life, are enjoyed by all. Dietary modification is the cornerstone of treating cardiovascular disease in older adults who are obese. Interventions to decrease obesity are presented in the next section titled, “Interventions to Address Obesity.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved orlistat capsules, branded as alli, as an over-the-counter (OTC) treatment for overweight adults in February 2007. The drug had previously been approved in 1999 as a prescription weight loss aid, whose brand name is Xenical. The OTC preparation has a lower dosage than prescription Xenical.
The National Health and Examination Survey (NHANES I) showed that people who engage in limited recreational activity were more likely to gain weight than more active people. Other studies have shown that people who engage in regular strenuous activity gain less weight than sedentary people.
Excess weight, especially obesity, diminishes almost every aspect of health, from reproductive and respiratory function to memory and mood. Obesity increases the risk of several debilitating, and deadly diseases, including diabetes, disease, and some cancers. It does this through a variety of pathways, some as straightforward as the mechanical stress of carrying extra pounds and some involving complex changes in hormones and metabolism. Obesity decreases the quality and length of life, and increases individual, national, and global healthcare costs. The good news, though, is that weight loss can curtail some obesity-related risks. (1) Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of body weight offers meaningful health benefits to people who are obese, even if they never achieve their “ideal” weight, and even if they only begin to lose weight later in life.
Eating oatmeal for breakfast is heart healthy, filling, and satisfying. In addition to lowering and maintaining healthy cholesterol, oatmeal is packed full of fiber, which keeps your bathroom schedule regular and promotes weight loss. Mix up the flavors by adding different fruits, nuts and spices for variety.
^ Jump up to: a b Global BMI Mortality Collaboration; Di Angelantonio, E; Bhupathiraju, ShN; Wormser, D; Gao, P; Kaptoge, S; Berrington De Gonzalez, A; Cairns, B. J; Huxley, R; Jackson, ChL; Joshy, G; Lewington, S; Manson, J. E; Murphy, N; Patel, A. V; Samet, J. M; Woodward, M; Zheng, W; Zhou, M; Bansal, N; Barricarte, A; Carter, B; Cerhan, J. R; Smith, G. D; Fang, X; Franco, O. H; Green, J; Halsey, J; Hildebrand, J. S; et al. (13 July 2016). “Body-mass index and all-cause mortality: individual-participant-data meta-analysis of 239 prospective studies in four continents”. Lancet. 388 (10046): 776–86. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30175-1. PMC 4995441 . PMID 27423262.
In Sacramento, 56 percent of obese baby boomers have high blood pressure, the UCLA figures show, compared with 23 percent of boomers with a normal body weight. More than one-fifth of obese baby boomers in the region have diabetes. Forty percent suffer from arthritis: Not surprisingly, the number of boomers using assistive devices, such as canes and walkers, is on the rise, as well. Almost 20 percent of obese boomers can’t work due to disability.
Assessment for depression and dementia is also vital because both have been shown to contribute to unintentional weight loss in older adults.1 The two-question Patient Health Questionnaire (available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/0715/p244.html) and the Geriatric Depression Scale (available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/2011/1115/p1149.html) are validated screening tools for depression in older adults.24,25 The Mini-Cognitive Assessment Instrument (Mini-Cog; available at https://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0315/p497.html) is the preferred screening tool for dementia because of its ease of use.26
Sleep apnea is a serious breathing condition that is associated with being overweight. Sleep apnea can cause a person to snore heavily and to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Sleep apnea may cause daytime sleepiness and even heart failure. The risk for sleep apnea increases as body weight increases. Weight loss usually improves sleep apnea.
Beyond that it’s a good idea to pick a multivitamin for your specific age group. Multivitamins that are marketed to seniors or adults over 50 years old usually contain more calcium and vitamins D and B12 with less iron. Ask your doctor if you need to supplement specific vitamins or minerals in addition to what’s in your multivitamin. Seniors are commonly deficient in vitamin D, for example. And of course, try to get most of your nutrients from healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds and lean meat, poultry and fish.
Wilhelm’s father fit into that statistic. “Two days before my wedding, my father showed up, and this time he had a dramatic loss in weight,” she says, estimating that he lost an additional 30 pounds, adding to the 20 pounds lost in previous months. “I could not believe how frail he looked–I had never seen him this skinny. I could not believe the man looking at me was the father that used to put me on his shoulders when I was a little girl. I really had no idea what to do.”
Hold on, you may be thinking. Leaving fat, sugar, and salt aside, what about all the nasty things that wholesome foods do not, by definition, contain and processed foods do? A central claim of the wholesome-food movement is that wholesome is healthier because it doesn’t have the artificial flavors, preservatives, other additives, or genetically modified ingredients found in industrialized food; because it isn’t subjected to the physical transformations that processed foods go through; and because it doesn’t sit around for days, weeks, or months, as industrialized food sometimes does. (This is the complaint against the McDonald’s smoothie, which contains artificial flavors and texture additives, and which is pre-mixed.)
Obesity is not just a cosmetic problem. It’s a health hazard. Someone who is 40% overweight is twice as likely to die prematurely as is an average-weight person. This is because obesity has been linked to several serious medical conditions, including:
Obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Over two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one in three Americans is obese. The prevalence of obesity in children has increased markedly. Obesity has also been increasing rapidly throughout the world, and the incidence of obesity nearly doubled from 1991 to 1998.
This study will compare usual and community-specific treatment to see which is more effective at helping new African-American mothers lose weight after childbirth. To participate, you must be an overweight or obese adult, be a Philadelphia WIC participant, and have given birth within the last six months. Visit the Community-based Obesity Treatment in African American Women After Childbirth for more information and to learn how to participate in the study.
It’s not your imagination — as the years have passed, your body has become softer and less muscular. From age 25 to age 75, body fat typically doubles, according to University of Rochester Medical Center, and your lean muscle mass decreases. This decrease in muscle mass means your body needs fewer calories to maintain your weight, but if you keep eating like you did as a younger adult, your weight will go up. If you plan to skip the gym and focus solely on controlling your food intake for your weight-loss efforts, think again. Obese seniors age 65 to 85 had the most weight-loss success when they both dieted and exercised, according to a study published in 2011 in “The New England Journal of Medicine.”
Your caloric needs decrease as you age; therefore, for example, a woman over age 50 should cut back to between 1,600 and 2,000 calories a day, depending on her level of physical activity, according to the National Institute on Aging. If a lack of mobility is a hindrance to preparing healthy foods at home, don’t resort to calling for takeout. Instead, look into a grocery delivery service that allows you to place an order on the Internet and have it delivered to your doorstep. Eating enough food to keep up with the calories needed for movement is important, too — according to WebMD, seniors often grapple with preparing fresh, healthy foods at home due to difficulty chewing due to tooth pain or dentures, problems with indigestion and a declining sense of taste. Emotional problems such as depression or loneliness can play a role in both eating too little and eating too many of the wrong comfort foods. Visit a medical professional to determine a healthy diet for your physical and mental needs.