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'Age should be no barrier to the lifestyle management of obesity', study finds

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Washington | November 22, 2020 11:12:34 AM IST
Obesity is also linked to increased mortality and poor well being which makes it important for people with bad eating habits to pay more attention to their lifestyle.

The society misconceptions that say people with more than 50 years of age cannot lose weight have been contradicted with recent research by Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism (WISDEM) at UHCW who conducted a retrospective study to illustrate that age is no barrier to losing weight.

According to a new study, lifestyle changes can make obese patients over the age of 60 to lose an equivalent amount of weight as younger people who will help to correct prevailing societal misconceptions about the effectiveness of weight loss programmes in older people, as well dispel myths about the potential benefits of older people trying to reduce their weight.

The findings are based on analysis of patient records from a hospital-based obesity service and are reported in the journal Clinical Endocrinology.

The researchers randomly selected 242 patients who attended the WISDEM-based obesity service between 2005 and 2016 and compared two groups (those aged under 60 years and those aged between 60 and 78 years) for the weight loss that they achieved during their time within the service.

All patients had their body weight measured both before and after lifestyle interventions administered and coordinated within the WISDEM-based obesity service, and the percentage reduction in body weight was calculated across both groups. When compared, the two groups were equivalent statistically, with those aged 60 years and over on average reducing their body weight by 7.3% compared with a bodyweight reduction of 6.9% in those aged fewer than 60 years. Both groups spent a similar amount of time within the obesity service, on average 33.6 months for those 60 years and over, and 41.5 months for those younger than 60 years.

Focusing on lifestyle changes, the hospital-based programme tailored on the dietary changes to each individual patient, psychological support and encouragement of physical activity. Most of the patients referred to the obesity service were morbidly obese with BMIs typically over 40Kgm-2.There are more than fifty co-morbidities of obesity that can be lessened as we lose weight, including diabetes, psychiatric conditions such as depression and anxiety, osteoarthritis and other mechanical problems.

Lead author Dr Thomas Barber of Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick said: "Weight loss is important at any age, but as we get older we're more likely to develop the weight-related co-morbidities of obesity. Many of these are similar to the effects of ageing, so you could argue that the relevance of weight loss becomes heightened as we get older, and this is something that we should embrace,""There are a number of reasons why people may discount weight loss in older people. These include an 'ageist' perspective that weight-loss is not relevant to older people and misconceptions of the reduced ability of older people to lose weight through dietary modification and increased exercise."

"Service providers and policymakers should appreciate the importance of weight loss in older people with obesity, for the maintenance of health and wellbeing, and the facilitation of healthy ageing," he added.

"Age should be no barrier to the lifestyle management of obesity. Rather than putting up barriers to older people accessing weight loss programmes, we should be proactively facilitating that process. To do otherwise would risk further and unnecessary neglect of older people through societal ageist misconceptions," the study says. (ANI)

 
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