Author(s): Salihu HM, Bonnema SM, Alio AP
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: Obesity is currently a major public health concern; however, there is little data available on the prevalence and impact of obesity within the elderly population. This review examines the prevalence and health effects of obesity among individuals aged > or =50. METHODS: PubMed (1996-2008) and PsychInfo (2002-2008) search engines were used to retrieve qualified peer-reviewed articles focusing on obesity or a health condition correlated with obesity using BMI or other weight index as a defining variable; and studies limited to the elderly (age 60+) or pre-elderly (50+). RESULTS: Worldwide, the elderly population is increasingly becoming obese regardless of socio-economic status. Among elderly persons, obesity increases the risks for a variety of morbidity conditions including cancers, diabetes, hypertension, stroke, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, osteoarthritis, depression, disability, and lower scores on quality of life measures. In some reports, obesity has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and other forms of cognitive decline. Obesity significantly increases healthcare costs and nursing homes are currently ill equipped to address the needs of the rising number of obese residents. CONCLUSIONS: Obesity is increasing in the elderly population worldwide and is expected to continue to rise. Obesity is associated with disease and disability in addition to escalating healthcare costs, and hospitals and nursing homes are ill equipped to serve the obese elderly. It is imperative that research efforts and funding be devoted to studying the effects and the reduction of obesity in the elderly population.
This article was published in Maturitas
and referenced in Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies