people of any age can suffer from obesity. the condition has dozens of complications, which include diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, depression, and anxiety. obesity is associated with an increased risk of death and reduced quality of life.
scientists believe that older people who develop this condition should receive special attention from specialists, since many complications of obesity manifest themselves with age. however, due to comorbidities, fewer treatments are available for this age group. for example, they are much less likely to undergo weight loss surgeries. it is known that doctors often avoid recommending weight loss to elderly patients.
“there are many reasons why the problem of losing weight in older people is bypassed. these include the ageist view that older people no longer need it, and the misconception that older people have less ability to lose weight through diet and exercise, ”- explained dr. thomas barber of warwick medical school, co-author of a new study.
what the scientists did
in a new study, the researchers wanted to test how effective the standard methods of fighting obesity (diet and physical activity) in old age are.
for the study, the authors randomly selected the stories of 242 patients who went to the clinic at the warwickshire institute for the study of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolism for help in the fight against obesity. scientists divided the participants into two groups: under the age of 60 and between the ages of 60 and 78. they compared their progress in the fight against obesity.
most of the study participants were severely obese. they all received advice on how to lose weight through diet and physical activity. along with this, they received psychological counseling, experts motivated them to exercise.
scientists have calculated and compared how much weight the study participants from both age groups managed to achieve. the weight of participants from the "senior group" decreased by an average of 7.3%, from the "younger group" - by 6.9%. for people aged 60 and over, the weight loss program took an average of 41.5 months, for people under 60 years old - 33.6 months.
scientists believe that healthcare professionals should remember that weight loss is essential for improving the health of the elderly. in their opinion, age should not influence the decision of doctors to prescribe a course to reduce body weight.