Weight Managment and Aging

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A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that the highest prevalence of obesity is in the 50- to 64-year age group. This is alarming because the health risks associated with obesity had already been identified as health risks associated with aging! Does this put an obese older person in double jeopardy?

An obese person is at much higher risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, certain cancers, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis. Physical symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue, and swollen feet are also much more common in obese adults. In addition, for some people obesity is associated with low selfesteem, negative body image, and symptoms of depression. Individuals may also experience disrupted sleep and fatigue.

Exercise can reduce stress and fatigue and increase self-esteem and body image. Exercise can also reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition to these mental health benefits, exercise has been proven to reduce disease risk and premature death. Many active individuals enjoy good health without achieving weight loss. What is important is to realize that increased activity can improve one’s health no matter what the weight loss ratio is.

To prevent weight gain and accrue health benefits, 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily is recommended. Exercise does not have to be organized. Just making a few lifestyle changes will help. Park your car further away from entrances (thereby walking across parking lots), climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator, and exercising your upper body by pushing away from the table. Small changes can make large differences in how you feel and look.

Make your life after 50 a time when you take care of yourself and gain the benefits that a healthy lifestyle offers to you.