Auburn, NH Blog

What to Know About Obesity if you Care for Seniors

Obesity in the United States is one of the largest health concerns in the country; with 66% of Americans either overweight or obese, the symptoms and illnesses caused by obesity are one of the most common concerns seen by physicians. Older adults may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese due to a combination of limited movement abilities, a slower metabolism, and an increased likelihood of living a sedentary lifestyle. If you are responsible for providing care for seniors, remaining informed and aware of the signs and effects of obesity on the elderly can help you increase the quality of life of your loved one.

How can I tell if my loved one is obese?

Obesity is defined by the Center for Disease Control as holding a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. The body mass index is an equation used to calculate the ideal weight based on height for men and women. Your loved one's doctor will be able to tell you if your loved one has a BMI that falls into the obese range. If you have a scale in your home, you can use this calculator from the Center for Disease Control to estimate if your loved one is obese as well.

How does obesity affect the elderly?

Experts that provide care for seniors have found that older adults may experience the effects of obesity more severely than younger adults due to comorbidities like arthritis, Parkinson's Disease, and cerebral palsy. Senior citizens who are obese are at an increased risk of developing a host of illnesses, ranging from diabetes to heart disease. If you provide care for seniors, you should be sure to carefully watch the weight of older adults to prevent them from developing an obesity-related illness.

How can I help my loved one lose weight?

Managing weight in the elderly can be a challenge, but the benefits of maintaining a normal BMI are countless. Providers of care for seniors should limit the number of calories consumed by older adults in accordance with their activity and mobility levels, and should focus on including nutritious foods like leafy greens, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. In addition, daily activities can include some form of light exercise. Walking, riding a stationary bike, or calisthenics are all great ways to safely increase the heart rate of an older adult.

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