Observing National Obesity Awareness Week with SeniorsJanuary 10, 2024
Observing National Obesity Awareness Week with Seniors
Since the 1940s, the average number of obese adults has increased exponentially in America. The ease of access to food—especially those of the fast and pre-packaged varieties—in conjunction with more sedentary lifestyles has led to higher weights across the country. In an effort to mitigate this problem, the second week in January was named National Obesity Awareness Week.
Excessive weight gain is terrible for everyone, but older adults in particular are more likely to be affected. Observing National Obesity Awareness Week with seniors is a fantastic way to inspire a healthier lifestyle that lasts year-round.
What is the impact of obesity on seniors?
Obesity is widely recognized to cause a range of health problems that impact seniors’ daily lives. Some of these impacts include:
- Increased risk of chronic conditions. Overweight and obese individuals are at a higher risk for serious chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, and even certain cancers. One’s extra weight causes serious stress on one’s body, resulting in changes in all functions.
- Reduced mobility. One pound of weight has roughly 3-4 pounds of pressure on your joints. Excess weight puts serious strain on one’s joints and muscles, which may already have age-related problems. This leads to serious challenges partaking in any physical aspect of life—even just walking to the mailbox.
- Increased risk of cognitive decline. Some research suggests a link between obesity and cognitive decline in older adults. This puts these individuals at a higher risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
It isn’t only one’s health that obesity impacts—it is also one’s wallet. Those with obesity-related health issues have to attend more doctor’s visits, take more medication, and potentially have more hospital stays. This results in higher healthcare costs that can be difficult to manage.
The best way to avoid these complications? Live a healthier lifestyle. Promoting a healthier lifestyle can be difficult, at first, but will be to the benefit of your overall health.
Your Number One Tip: make it a lifestyle change
When one starts a weight loss journey, it’s common to spend an exorbitant amount of time researching the most successful diets, or the diets that yield the fastest results. While this could be a launching point for getting started, diets are often built to be a temporary solution. Fad diets or exercise are particularly troublesome, as they can cause significant damage to your body and lead to a negative relationship with food.
A lifestyle change, however, leads to long-term, manageable success. Changing one’s lifestyle refers to making small, incremental, and actionable changes to your existing habits and routines.
For instance, if you go out to dinner twice a week with friends, consider going out only once a week, and cooking at home the other day. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t get rid of your treats all at once. Instead, limit your sweets to once a day, or perhaps only use them as a reward. Slowly add longer, or more frequent, walks into your daily schedule. As you get used to these changes, make more incremental adjustments.
While these small changes won’t yield the extreme results a fad diet will, they will yield long-term results. If you have any questions about how to get started on this journey, speak to your doctor and then a registered dietitian.
Get support at home during your health journey
Seniors with obesity may face unique challenges, and home care services can be an invaluable resource on this journey. At-home caregivers offer support tailored to your needs, whether that means assistance with meal planning, providing companionship to engage in regular physical activities, or running errands.
By partnering with a trusted home care provider like Home Care Powered by AUAF, you can create a higher quality of life. Our staff will empower you with the support and attention you need to live out your golden years healthfully. For more information on whether or not home care is right for you, give us a call at (773) 274-9262.
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