Generally, there is a belief that as the years go by, it’s harder to lose weight. However, a new study concludes that this statement is not entirely true and offers a kind of relief for those seniors who want to gain health benefits through maintaining a healthy weight.
In an obesity program conducted in a UK hospital, age did not affect weight loss, with statistically equivalent results for people under and over 60 years of age.
The study’s lead author, Dr. Thomas Barber, explained that weight loss is important at any age, but as you get older, weight-related comorbidities of obesity are more likely to develop. Many of these comorbidities are similar to the effects of aging, so it could be argued that the relevance of weight loss increases as you age.
The study authors wrote that weight loss could help older people address more than 50 common comorbidities with age, such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, and mood disorders, such as anxiety or depression.
In fact, increased mortality and a general lack of well-being in older adults are also associated with obesity.
Staying healthy as you age
There are several reasons why people may rule out weight loss in older people. According to Dr. Barber, they think that weight loss is not relevant to older people and they have misconceptions about older people’s reduced ability to lose weight by modifying the diet and exercising more.
In this regard, the study provides evidence that weight loss programs administered by medical professionals, in particular, are highly valuable.
“Older people may feel that obesity hospital services are not for them, and therefore service providers and policy makers should appreciate the importance of weight loss in older people with obesity for the maintenance of obesity. health and well-being and the facilitation of healthy aging, ”explains Dr. Barber.
The study shows that age should not contribute to clinical decisions regarding the implementation of lifestyle control in the elderly.
The team analyzed the medical records of 242 randomly selected people who had participated in the obesity service offered by the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (WISDEM) program between 2005 and 2016.
Researchers divided the cohort into two groups: people under 60 years old and people between 60 and 78 years old. All the participants were morbidly obese at the beginning, with medications with a BMI above 40. Thus, the analysis compared the weight loss results in the two groups.
Program participants controlled their weight with dietary changes and more exercise, and the physicians customized the program for each individual’s needs. It also provided psychological support and encouragement.
Likewise, the researchers took measurements about weight before and after to participate in the WISDEM program.
While the older group spent slightly less time on the program, the weight loss in both groups was statistically equivalent. People in the largest group lost an average of 7.3% of their body weight, while those of the group under 60 years lost 6.9%.