Obesity among Elders

Obesity in elders is an increasingly grave concern--it is estimated that come the year 2010 there will be nearly 20 million obese persons over the age of 60. To begin with, disease risk escalates with age and the natural progressive deterioration of the body. Furthermore, elderly obesity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and cancer.

Obesity in elderly populations also ups the need for long-term assistance, in-home care and other means of aid such as wheelchairs and scooters for obese people that cannot walk even short distances or stand for long periods of time.

To reduce the instances of elderly obesity diet and nutrition education should begin early--monitoring caloric intake and activity should also begin at an early age.

Several studies indicate that surgical procedures may be safe and effective for older obese individuals. Gastric bypass surgery entails decreasing stomach size and bypassing the food-absorbing small intestines. Gastric banding entails placing and inflating a band around the top portion of the stomach so the patient feels fuller. Nutrition supplements, support groups and education are still, however, the most effective and less drastic forms of battling obesity.