Obesity in the Elderly

It is estimated that by 2010 there will be approximately 20 million people over the age of 60 who are obese. The risks for diseases increase as a person ages due to the natural progression of deterioration of the body. Aging is further complicated by obesity, as the risks for disease increase, especially in the case of diabetes, cardio vascular diseases, osteoarthritis and cancer. An increase in obesity in elderly populations also requires long term assistance, in-home care, and other means of assistance such as wheelchairs, scooters for transportation of obese persons who are unable to walk short distances, or stand for long periods of time.

Awareness of diet and nutrition must start in younger years to avoid elderly obesity. Caloric intake and activity must be monitored and proper nutrition emphasized for the high number of those affected with or by elderly obesity to decline. Some studies indicate that surgical procedures may be safe and effective for older populations. Gastric bypass involves decreasing the size of the stomach and bypassing the small intestine where food is absorbed. Gastric banding involves placing a band around the top part of the stomach and inflating the band so the patient has the sensation of being full. Supplements for nutrition, support networks and education are all imperative and the best and most effective help against obesity.

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