Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Older adults have more fat and less muscle

A "double whammy" for adults, announces an article in "Medical News" reporting on a study at Wake University which included over 1800 older adults, 70-79. The "double whammy" according to Medical News is that older adults start in their Autumn years fatter and tend to gain more weight because of the "obesity epidemic".

How much is "more weight"? Turns out that an 80 year old born in 1927, is 10 lbs heavier than his/her counterpoint born in 1918 with 3.75 lbs less muscle.

Sorry but 10 lbs heavier doesn't sound like a whole lot to me.

The result is an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis and disability, according to Jingzhong Ding, M.D., Ph.D., lead author and a researcher on aging at Wake Forest Baptist.
The same old tired phrases which ignore the fact that slim elderly suffer from identical maladies. I guess they hope we won't figure that out.

More bodyfat in the elderly has been shown to be an advantage in several areas, another fact which you will NOT see in the media.

For example, fat people in general tend to survive hospital stays better after a heart attack - they also tend to survive chemo therapy better than slimmer people.

One study of nuns suggested that those who GAINED weight after the age of 65 were the only group which had a zero chance of senility. (Those who lost weight had the highest risk of senility about 25 percent and those who stayed the same had a 10 percent risk of senility).

As far as muscle wasting in the elderly this IS a problem however, not at all related to obesity, but rather lack of exercise which is a problem in our society in general.

I notice the good scientists at Wake forgot to mention that osteoporosis is a serious problem which many elderly face - a problem which occurs 40 percent less in overweight elderly. (see Gaesser, Glenn, PhD: BIG FAT LIES, CA 2004)

This article is typical of the "obesity epidemic" articles. If you read it carefully, it's not really saying anything new nor is it saying anything scary. Unfortunately, many people will read the title and the first sentence only and come away thinking that Wake University has discovered yet more problems in the "obesity epidemic"!

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