Extra weight in older adults hinders day-to-day activities

May 17, 2011 in Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News, Weight Management

Extra weight in older adults hinders day-to-day activities
Study findings from researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston are reporting older adults who are obese are more likely to develop problems with day-to-day activities, such as bathing and getting dressed.

In fact, researchers found that the more excess weight an odler person carries, the more likely they are to report new disabilities.

To investigate, researchers surveyed more than 20,000 adults 65 and older.  Researchers focused on people's responses to questions about their ability to complete day-to-day activities, which include eating, getting in and out of chairs, and walking.

Researchers separated these basic motions from so-called "instrumental" daily activities, which consisted of using the telephone, cooking, shopping, and managing money.

Reporting in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the authors found that between 22 and 32 percent of overweight and obese women, for instance, reported they were struggling more with at least one daily activity over the course of the study period, versus 20 percent of older women who were at a healthy weight.

When it came to "instrumental daily activities," between 30 and 38 percent of overweight and obese men said those activities had become harder since the study began, while only 28 percent of men without excess weight reported the same problem.

Interestingly, researchers found that being overweight did not appear to bring a higher risk of death, except in the very heaviest, making this one more study to suggest that moderate weight gains don't have the same impact on older people's health as they do in the general population

The findings were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

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