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Obesity in Older Adults


Krupa Shah, MD, MPH, Geriatric Fellow, Washington University at St. Louis, Division of Geriatric and Nutritional Science, St. Louis, MO, USA.
Dennis Villareal, MD, Associate Professor, Washington University at St. Louis, Division of Geriatric and Nutritional Science, St. Louis, MO, USA.

Obesity is associated with significant morbidity and mortality. In older adults, obesity can exacerbate declining physical function and quality of life that often accompanies aging, and can cause frailty. The value of treatment for obesity in older adults has been under debate because of the uncertain effectiveness of obesity therapies in this population as well as the potentially harmful effects of weight loss. However, current evidence shows that weight-loss treatment improves physical function and quality of life, and also eases the medical complications associated with obesity in older adults. Therefore, moderate weight loss that minimizes muscle and bone loss is recommended for obese older adults who have functional decline or medical complications.
Key words: obesity, body mass index, metabolic syndrome, weight loss, lifestyle modification.