Overweight seniors living longer, less mobile lives, researchers find

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Obesity among seniors is somewhat o a ticking time bomb for healthcare systems worldwide, according to British researchers. While it does not increase the risk for death among the elderly, it leads to disability and immobility, and creates a burden for healthcare systems everywhere.

For years, scientists and researchers assumed that obesity increased the risk of death for all age groups. But after analyzing data collected on nearly 4,000 senior citizens in the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing, researchers at The Peninsula Medical School in England, they discovered this isn't the case. Only the most severely obese elderly men are at any statistically higher risk of dying, they say. Overweight and obese seniors do, however, exhibit signs of limited mobility and difficulty in performing some daily activities.

Researchers also note that, despite growing rates of obesity, the general population is living longer. They caution that too many extra pounds can seriously diminish quality of life in those later years, and that the extra care these seniors will require could have a serious negative impact on the ability of state-run health care systems to maintain their level of quality of care. Their report is published in the August issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.
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