Why is excess body fat is even more dangerous in the elderly?
Obesity is a modern epidemic not to be taken lightly, but despite the gravity of this condition, weight management takes a back seat position when it comes to health priorities in the elderly. It is understandable that due to several concurrent conditions in the elderly, the issue of weight control is not given emphasis, but that does not mean it should be ignored altogether.
In a study done by the Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center involving 6,030 men over the age of 75, it was found that having a BMI greater than 22.3 can shorten the life expectancy of a person by 3.7 years. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is classified as overweight, therefore it does not carry the same amount of negative implication as obesity does and yet, it can be just as lethal. Sadly, this is prevalent in the United States. According to the CDC, more than one-third of older adults were obese from 2007–2010. Excess weight is also implicated as a risk factor for several conditions like heart disease, stroke, and cancer, all of which are already common in the aged population.
The study is a testament to the importance of weight control not just in the active years, but also in the elderly age. It is the recommendation of the researchers of the study that since controlling weight can extend a person’s life, a weight control program should be part of the geriatric interventions.
Does Excess Body Fat Maintained After the Seventh Decade Decrease Life Expectancy?
CDC. More than one-third of older adults aged 65 and over were obese in 2007–2010