The prevalence of epidemic obesity has been on the rise in the United States in all age groups. And if you observe the situation of older adults, you will notice that during the past 30 years, the proportion of elder citizens who are obese has doubled.
This hike in obesity impacts quality of life and the risk of institutionalization. Besides obesity-associated ailments like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cardiac issues, and some types of cancer, obese elder adults will experience worsening of many age-associated diseases like loss of bone, muscles, balance, memory, and sleeplessness.
There are many causes to the sour of obesity like the prevalent sedentary lifestyle, excessive use of junk foods, environmental issues, genetic reasons, and side effects of some medications.
Read on to learn in detail about the different causes and repercussions of obesity for aged people.
This article is written with the purpose to raise awareness of the consequences and challenges of obesity in older adults.
Major Causes of Obesity:
Healthy behaviors include an active lifestyle and healthy eating. Balancing the number of calories consumed from foods and beverages with the number of calories you burn during your daily workouts will help you maintain a healthy weight.
And eating more calories than you torch, using junk foods, or living an inactive and sedentary lifestyle will lead to obesity. Buy yourself the best workout clothes from here.
- Community Environment:
People usually make decisions according to their environment or community. For example, if a person is living in an area where there are sidewalks or safe bike trails, he will not be able to go to the store on foot or on a bike.
Genetics is also one of the reasons for obesity. Studies show that a child to obese parents is more likely to become obese than a child to healthy weight people.
- Other Factors: Diseases and Drugs
Some illnesses and medications may also lead to obesity or weight gain. The ailments include Cushing’s disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. Drugs like steroids and some antidepressants may also cause weight gain.
How Does Obesity Affect the Elderly?
Excess weight is likely to increase the risk for many health problems, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart strokes, certain types of cancers, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, fatty liver disease, kidney disease, and some complications with pregnancy.
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common diseases found in older adults, which resulted from the interplay between excessive use of processed foods including fast foods, and following a sedentary lifestyle that contributes to obesity.
Research says that even as small as 15 pounds of weight gain can increase a person’s risk of diabetes by 50%. Therefore, following some fitness routines and intaking healthy nutrients are in our hands.
Doing so will surely ward-off a chronic disease like diabetes.
The link between high blood pressure and obesity:
Hypertension and obesity are linked to each other in many ways. Having a herculean sized body may increase blood pressure because your heart needs to pump harder to supply blood to all your cells.
Furthermore, excess fats in your body may also damage your kidneys, which help regulate blood pressure.
Obesity and arthritis go side by side and are mainly found in people of older age. If the strain is sustained for a long time in the elderly, it may also lead to osteoarthritis of weight-bearing joints.
Arthritis is one big cause of physical immobility in older adults, resulting in reduced energy expenditure and a high risk of weight gain.
Another major problem associated with obesity is that obese people have higher rates of certain types of cancers.
For example, breast cancer in older women is increasingly being linked to obesity. Also, colon, rectum, prostate, kidney, and esophageal cancers, have been linked to obesity and physical inactivity.
Furthermore, cancer of the gallbladder, uterus, cervix, or ovaries is more common in women who are obese compared with women who are not obese.
Other old age diseases experts usually link with obesity include cardiovascular problems, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, pregnancy problems, loss of memory, weakening of cognition, cataracts, and urinary incontinence.