Upon reaching a certain age, it may be tempting to to believe that it is impossible to lose weight with only lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. New research confirms that age is not a barrier to successful weight loss. Overweight adults past the age of 60 can still reduce their body weight and significantly improve overall health and well-being.
According to a recent Science Daily news release, a University of Warwick study compared participants in a hospital obesity program. It found that adults between 60 and 78 were equally able to reduce their weight with dietary changes, psychological support and encouragement of physical activity as participants under the age of 60.
Because obesity is associated with more than 50 co-morbidities, losing weight in older age can lessen the risk for developing diabetes, osteoarthritis and other functional health problems. Weight loss is also linked with less incidence of depression and anxiety.
Although many people hold ageist stereotypes that weight loss is next to impossible in older age with just lifestyle changes, attitudes are changing. More older adults are not satisfied to sit on the sidelines in their golden years, and by staying physically active and eating a healthy diet seniors can not only lower their risk for chronic illness, but also remain independent and engaged longer. Weight loss helps to improve physical function, enhance longevity and promote healthy aging.
The UK study included 242 patients who participated in a hospital-based weight loss service for an average of 33.6 months. Younger participants lost an average of 6.9 percent of their body weight and those in the older cohort reduced their body weight by an average of 7.3 percent.
Following a Mediterranean-style diet, stopping smoking and getting at least 150 minute of moderate physical activity each week can help people of all ages live a healthier and more vibrant lifestyle. Even modest weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of total body weight can have a significant health benefit, according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. Dropping just 10 to 15 pounds can improve blood pressure, blood cholesterol and blood sugar, lowering the risk for chronic illness such as diabetes and heart disease. A significant weight loss boosts energy levels, improves mobility and elevates mood and self-confidence.
Learn more about how to get started losing weight by following this link to the CDC website or talk with your doctor about how to get involved in a medically supervised weight loss program.