‘As you sow, so shall you reap’ doesn’t prove wrong even with weight loss. Each individual’s present state is a reflection of his/her actions/inputs sown during younger years. Our great grandparents and grandparents lead a healthier life and remained fitter for longer years compared to our parents and us. Neither should we deny the fact that lifestyle changes and quality of lifestyle play a tremendous role in building our future health. We have read many articles and there have been various publications showing the importance of physical activity at any age, studies proving that any age is the right age to start being fit and so. But we’ve got another study that shows that its extremely important to lose weight at a younger age (if needed) to avoid accelerated health deterioration at older ages.
Now or Never
Being in 15s, 25s or 35s is a guarantee against diseases for many as these people have a strong wrong notion that illness and diseases are for the elderly. Youngsters treat their lives carelessly failing to stay active and eat healthy. Some remain in normal weight ranges while many land up with overweight/obesity problems. People are busy dealing with work pressure, accommodating family requirements and meeting project deadlines. it’s not until middle age that individuals rush to lose weight due to various reasons such as indications of BP or diabetes, lack of energy or a sudden enlightenment that has struck him/her like lightening. But it’s pretty late!
There have been studies previously that linked weight loss in older adults to increased risk of illness and death, but these lacked concrete evidences. Another latest study trending in the same lines researched about the health and weight of women aged above 65 years. The research group were lucky to find 20 years’ health data of these participants which helped them understand the link between long term weight loss/gain and health. The same research team had earlier found that rate of weight loss after the age of 20 determined the risk of dementia in women over 80 years of age (this did not include women who suddenly lost ample weight). With this, the same team theorized that women who lost ample weight or experienced fluctuating weight measures were likelier to functional poorly at the age of 20 and also had greater chances of having poorer health almost 1-5 years after the age of 20.
The present study showed that almost 10 kilograms of weight lost over 20 years increased the risk of death by 23% and risk of hip fracture by 52%. Those who lost around 9 kilograms of weight (moderate loss) were at a 74% risk of death and faced thrice the risk of hip fracture compared to those who had not lost weight. They were 4 times likelier to have poor physical health after 20 years. Women who lost less than 9 kilograms of weight over 20 years were at an increased risk of death but faced no risk of hip fracture.
Age as a Determining Factor for Weight Loss
Women face a greater risk of putting on weight especially during puberty and after menopause. But they are also likelier to lose weight as they grow old due to changes in sensory taste, improper digestion and lack of proper absorption of nutrients. They are also at a greater risk of mental health problems such as loneliness and depression which trigger weight loss sometimes.
The research shows that increased weight loss in old age is linked to increased risk of poor health outcomes. Following up on women’s nutrition, her social, environmental and physical factors definitely gives us clues about preserving her health during old age.
Studies might bring in new theories and results might become more complicated but one thing remains constant-health. Learning to live healthy and eat nutritious food right from a younger age decreases the risk of many health problems that might crop up later in life. Get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to get yourself moving on the right track towards health and age gracefully in the right way.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.