Senior obesity is a real risk factor for poor health and loss of autonomy. Difficult to fight, overweight can nevertheless be avoided by adopting a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet, associated with an adapted physical activity are thus the keys to aging well.
Obesity in Seniors and the Elderly, a Public Health Problem
It’s no secret that obesity is dangerous for your health. This is even more true for seniors who are more vulnerable to diseases associated with overweight.
However, obesity affects seniors more than the rest of the French population . Nearly 21% of men aged 60 to 69 and 18% of women in this age group suffer from obesity, according to the health watch institute. The proportion of obese seniors is twice as high as that of people aged 30 to 39.
Obesity in seniors leads to reduced mobility. Essential daily tasks are becoming more and more difficult to perform, muscle wasting combines with overweight and makes movements more demanding. Obesity therefore risks leading to a loss of autonomy in seniors.
Obesity also makes it more difficult for family caregivers of dependent seniors. Helping an elderly overweight person requires physical strength that the spouse or child does not always have, often elderly.
Health problems linked to obesity in the elderly
Obesity causes many health problems in older people, as it does in younger people.
According to Inserm, the main diseases linked to obesity in senior citizens are as follows:
Type 2 diabetes,
Dyslipidemia: excess lipids in the blood,
Sleep apnea syndrome,
Joint diseases, such as osteoarthritis ,
Cancers, especially of the uterus.
Obesity in the elderly can also lead to very harmful social isolation and depression. In addition, being overweight increases the risk of falls in the elderly , whose balance is weakened.
Preventing obesity in seniors
Senior obesity, like many other health problems, has no miracle recipe. When trying to fight or prevent overweight, you often have to try different diets, more or less restrictive. The game is nevertheless worth the candle. The goal will then be to find the diet suited to your constitution and your abilities.
It is nevertheless recommended to consult a dietitian to find a diet capable of preventing obesity in seniors without taking the risk of falling into the opposite excess of undernutrition .
Whatever happens, physical activity is necessary to prevent or treat obesity in seniors . Sport burns calories and fat, and stimulates the metabolism. Physical activity is also a key to aging well , as it preserves muscle mass and helps you stay in shape.
Among other physical activities suitable for seniors, you have the choice between the following disciplines:
Traditional aerobic exercises,
Aquatic aerobic exercises,
Light walking or jogging.
Today there are many sports clubs suitable for seniors. The CCAS also offers physical activities for the elderly. Finally, the activities in retirement homes most often include gentle gym exercises or Tai Chi.
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