Obesity in seniors

One of the chronic problems that affect adults, particularly, those aged nearly sixty and above is obesity. Obesity occurs when the person is overweight and his or her Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than thirty (BMI is calculated as the ratio of weight in kilograms to the square of the height in meters).

It has been observed that a significant portion of the elderly population is either obese or overweight these days, particularly in developed and developing countries. Sadly, obesity in old age is associated with increased morbidity and a decrease in the quality of life seniors can lead.

Being overweight affects the metabolic process of seniors and can lead to serious health problems and complications. The associated risk factors include developing abnormal waist circumference, hypertension, high blood lipid profiles and glucose intolerance leading to chronic issues like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. It is therefore important for elderly people to maintain their weight within prescribed limits.

Maintaining normal body weight not only increases survival rates in the older generation but improves their fitness levels and overall well-being. Senior physical activities are a promising way to achieve this. These activities may include simple exercises like walking, gardening, biking, bending and doing daily living chores independently so that the consumed food calories are utilized and not stored as body fat.

Seniors Healthy Weight Tips

  • Incorporate slow but incremental changes to the existing lifestyle especially in the context of diet and exercise. Diet not only implies cutting down the number of calories consumed but also involves focusing on the food content to essentially include proteins and vital minerals and vitamins. Taking the guidance of trained dieticians is beneficial as they can provide customized meal plans in accordance with the senior’s health condition and personal
  • Apart from remaining physically active, elders must ensure that their bone density and muscle strength are taken care of as it declines rapidly with aging. For this, resistance training, flexibility and balancing exercises are useful as they also help in reducing the risk of falls and injury. These may be done under the supervision of trained professionals and after the physician’s recommendation to ensure the safety of seniors. Water exercises for seniors like swimming and aqua jogging can also be a fun-filled and enjoyable exercise regime for controlling obesity. Apart from the cooling effects, water also bears the bodyweight making these exercises easier and less stressful.
  • Avoid unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking excessive alcohol and consuming high content of fats, salts and sugar that is present in processed foods and carbonated beverages.
  • Ensure that you have a sound sleep in the night for atleast seven to eight hours. Lack of sleep can disturb the hormone levels resulting in weight gain. Maintain a consistent sleep routine, eat a light dinner and do some mild physical activity before bedtime. Seniors should seek medical attention for sleeping issues like unusual snoring, insomnia and sleep apnea.
  • As most seniors are likely to be under multiple medications for treating health problems, it is advisable to have a detailed discussion with the doctors. They may carefully introspect the medication schedules and replace those drugs that cause weight gain with substitutes if possible.
  • Weight-loss medications are not generally advisable as they may show side-effects and counteract with existing medications of seniors. Additionally, such drugs may further deteriorate the prevailing medical conditions causing dangerous healthcare outcomes.
  • One of the interesting options for treating obesity in elders that is increasingly becoming popular is bariatric surgery. Yet the patient’s existing health conditions, risk of surgical intervention and benefits of surgery need to be contemplated properly by the medical team before choosing this so as to get a satisfactory and safe result.

Geriatric Home Healthcare encourages elders to remain active and provides assistance in consuming a balanced and nutritious diet that helps them to avoid obesity and age joyfully.

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