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There is no question that America has an obesity epidemic. We are also getting older as a country, with many baby boomers heading into their golden years. It is imperative that we conquer this obesity epidemic, especially for older adults who are prone to other health related issues as a result of obesity. Some of those health issues include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Statistics show that nearly 25 percent of senior citizens are overweight or obese. Too often, seniors become more sedentary which can compound the effects of obesity and the above-mentioned conditions. A new study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine looked at the combination of diet and exercise for obese seniors. The study was conducted at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
According to the lead researcher,Dennis T. Villareal, MD, "In older adults, obesity exacerbates declines in physical performance and leads to frailty, impaired quality of life and increases in nursing home admissions. Given the increasing prevalence of obesity even among older people, it is important to find ways to combat the problem and help seniors remain healthier and more independent."
He and his team studied the effects of diet and exercise in more than 100 obese seniors who were between the ages of 65-85, throughout a one year period. The average age of the subjects was about 70 years old. The study wanted to compare the effects of just dieting or exercise independently to the two lifestyles being implemented as a combination. The study found that those who merely focused on weight loss improved their physical function and mobility by about 12 percent, while those who focused solely on exercise improved their physical function and mobility by about 15 percent. The seniors who did both diet and exercise did considerably better, improving their physical performance by 21 percent.
The study also looked at their breathing and oxygen consumption on a treadmill test. Again those who implemented both diet and exercise improved 17 percent.