Probing question: Is being overweight always bad for your health?
Fat. Sugar. Salt. Americans have a love-hate relationship with these ingredients. We know we should consume them in moderation. After all, we've been told again and again that being overweight or obese can cause health problems. But they make foods taste so darn good! Can being overweight really be so bad?
According to Gordon Jensen, head of Penn State's Department of Nutritional Sciences, the answer may be "no"—at least for those of us who are lucky enough to live to the grand old age of 75 and beyond. For these seniors, being overweight or mildly obese does not necessarily appear to be detrimental to health and it may actually offer benefits.
"More than a third of Americans are overweight, and by 2030, nearly as many are projected to be obese, not just overweight," said Jensen. "While they are at increased risk for associated medical conditions, it's simply not true that all of these people are destined to suffer major health problems as a result."
Jensen and colleagues have conducted extensive research on the nutritional needs of older adults and have found that for people ages 75 and older, eating diets high in sugar and fat may not adversely affect their health outcomes. Their research has shown that older adults who followed diets high in fat and refined sugar did not die at a higher rate than older adults who followed more healthy diets.
"For people who live to be this old, being overweight or mildly obese appears potentially to help them survive during times of infection, illness or injury. The extra weight may act as a reserve for older people when their bodies are stressed. In addition, there are likely other potential benefits for older persons following healthy diets that have not been addressed in this research." However, Jensen said, "It is important to emphasize that severe obesity most certainly does not offer health or mortality benefits." (Obesity is defined by a person's Body Mass Index. Waist circumference and existing health risks also determine how dangerous a person's added pounds may be for them.)
Jensen said these findings provide further evidence that putting overweight or obese adults of this age group on overly restrictive therapeutic diets may not be of much benefit. "You don't take frail older persons and place them on highly restrictive diets to treat their excess weight," he said. "Geriatricians and nutritionists have recognized this for a long time."
However, in younger seniors—ages 60 to 70—who are overweight or obese, Jensen and his colleagues have found that losing weight may result in dramatic improvements. "By losing moderate weight, these 'young' older people can often lower blood sugars; lower their blood pressure; reduce metabolic syndrome, at least over the short run; and improve functioning in terms of physical performance," he explained.
For the vast majority of us, it seems there is still a need to watch our diets and our weight—that is, if we value our physical health. But for those of us who live long enough, there may come a day when we can drop some of our vigilance. Talk about delayed gratification!
More information: link.springer.com/… 3-012-0082-4
Provided by Pennsylvania State University
- Diet may not impact certain health outcomes in older persons Jan 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
- 'Overweight' adults age 70 or older are less likely to die over a 10-year period Jan 28, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Packing on the pounds in middle age linked to dementia May 02, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Appearance vs. reality: The perfectly healthy obese Feb 20, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Study says overweight Americans may risk kidney damage when attempting weight loss Feb 21, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
1 hour ago So energy can only be converted... So when you squeeze the bulb on a blood pressure cuff, you are applying kinetic energy. Then the cuff fills with...
How does momentum, inertia and drag affect the motion of an object?
4 hours ago How does momentum and inertia affect changes in speed, when considering acceleration from thrust, or from decelleration from drag? Say, for a...
What is Time-Varying Voltage?
5 hours ago In circuits, we have no problem saying that the voltage difference between two point is [itex]\cos(\omega t)[/itex], but what does that actually...
Contextual Relationships Between Momentum, Energy, and Force.
7 hours ago *I apologize in advance for the length of this post, if you wish to reduce reading skip to paragraph 5. Or if you are super lazy, the final...
Barometric pressure and the math behind it. Very interesting, I think.
8 hours ago Hey guys, I was actually researching the life of Edmond Halley and discovered that he discovered the relationship between barometric pressure and the...
Doubts in electrostatics
14 hours ago I have a few questions pertaining to some concepts in electrostatics, I'd be grateful if someone would help me out. 1) When we place a positive...
- More from Physics Forums - Classical Physics
More news stories
(Medical Xpress)—Research by the University of Leeds has shown that very young children appear to reject story book characters who are overweight, but not those who are disabled.
Overweight and Obesity May 16, 2013 | 3 / 5 (1) | 2
(HealthDay)—Weight gain in men and women is predicted by two different genetic variations—so-called polymorphisms, according to a new study from the Netherlands.
Overweight and Obesity May 15, 2013 | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
(HealthDay)—Drinking 500 ml of purified water is not associated with increases in resting energy expenditure (REE), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the European Congress on Obesity, ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | 2 / 5 (2) | 1
(HealthDay)—Reviews that are funded by industry tend to find the evidence weak for a causal link between sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and the increasing prevalence of obesity, while other reviews consider ...
Overweight and Obesity May 14, 2013 | not rated yet | 0
Big names in medicine are set to give an upbeat assessment of the war on AIDS on Tuesday, 30 years after French researchers identified the virus that causes the disease.
37 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
For combat veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, 'fear circuitry' in the brain never rests
Chronic trauma can inflict lasting damage to brain regions associated with fear and anxiety. Previous imaging studies of people with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, have shown that these brain regions can over-or ...
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0 |
The neural machinery underlying our olfactory sense continues to be an enigma for neuroscience. A recent review in Neuron seeks to expand traditional ideas about how neurons in the olfactory bulb might encode information about ...
12 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—What if the quality of your work depends more on your focus on the piano keys or canvas or laptop than your musical or painting or computing skills? If target users can be convinced, they ...
13 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |
(AP)—A woman who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after contracting a flesh-eating disease has been fitted with prosthetic hands.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
In 2008 researchers from the University of Southern Denmark showed that the drug thioridazine, which has previously been used to treat schizophrenia, is also a powerful weapon against antibiotic-resistant bacteria such as ...
10 hours ago | 3.7 / 5 (3) | 0 |