Monday, January 23, 2012

Obesity in the Elderly

Hank is genuinely worried about his father's health. At age 70, Stan has put on a great deal of weight that has started to interfere with his ability to perform basic daily functions, such as walking and dressing. Not only does Stan have a difficult time sitting and standing, Hank knows that he is at a greater risk for diabetes and heart disease because of his obesity.
Unfortunately, elderly obesity is on the rise (although trends have shown that obesity has increased across all generations, not just within the elderly population). Stan and other elderly individuals who battle with obesity face a unique challenge, as they must cope with both excess weight gain and the many signs of aging that take shape as an individual grows older. For this reason, the approach used to maintain their weight is different from that used to help younger people shed excess pounds.
In an article on, a part of, Bruce Goldfarb asserts that, generally, people have the most body fat during their sixties. While losing weight is important in maintaining health, and staving off diabetes and heart disease, Goldfarb notes that weight loss has been associated with mortality in elderly individuals. For this reason, the weight loss tactics developed by healthcare professionals must focus on a loss of body fat without an accompanying loss of lean muscle mass. To help elderly individuals lose their extra weight without becoming frail, Goldfarb's article notes that progressive resistance training may be a good option.
Due to underlying illnesses and the effects of aging, many elderly individuals who suffer from obesity are unable to perform high intensity workouts that are geared toward weight loss. While younger generations may benefit from daily trips to the gym, elderly individuals should take a less intense and more targeted approach to weight loss.
If your elderly loved one is suffering from obesity, talk to their doctor to ensure that the appropriate approach to weight loss is maintained. Although obesity can lead to heart disease and diabetes, overworking the body can cause elderly individuals to become frail and may cause damage to their delicate systems. Hank knows that his father needs to lose weight, and, with the help of his doctor, Stan has been able to stick to a targeted, healthy weight loss plan.

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