It’s not uncommon for people to gain weight as they get older. However, just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s healthy. If your older family member is carrying extra weight, and especially if they are obese, getting their weight under control can help them to lead a healthier, longer life.
What Does it Mean to Be Obese?
There are a couple of measures that are used to determine if a person is obese. The first one is body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of how a person’s weight compares to their height. Using the score, doctors are able to assign people to the following categories:
- Normal Weight: BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
- Overweight: BMI is 25 to 29.9.
- Obese: BMI is 30 or higher.
Another measurement of obesity is the size of a person’s waist. Carrying too much weight around the waistline increases the risk for certain health conditions even more than having too much fat on other areas of the body. Women should aim for a waistline that is 35 inches or smaller. Men should try to stay at 40 inches or smaller.
5 Reasons to Lose Weight
Being obese isn’t just a matter of vanity, though losing excess pounds can boost your older family member’s self-esteem. Obesity makes it more likely the senior will develop serious, potentially fatal, health conditions, like these 5:
- Heart Disease: Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. It can lead to heart attack, heart failure, or sudden cardiac death. Excess weight causes the heart to work harder and puts the senior at risk for health problems that raise the chances of getting heart disease.
- Stroke: Excess weight causes blood pressure to rise. High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor associated with stroke.
- Type 2 Diabetes: 87 percent of people who have diabetes are also overweight or obese. Being overweight is believed to cause cells to become resistant to insulin.
- Cancer: Doctors don’t know exactly why obesity increases the risk for certain kinds of cancer. It may have something to do with fat cells releasing hormones that impact the growth of cells. In addition, lifestyle choices associated with obesity, like lack of exercise and poor diet, also contribute to cancer risk.
- Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes sufferers to temporarily stop breathing while sleeping. It can make your aging relative sleepy during the day, have trouble focusing, and could lead to heart failure. Obese people have more weight around their necks, which can obstruct the airway.
Elderly care can assist your aging relative to lose weight. An elderly care provider can cook healthy, balanced meals that are also low in calories. An elderly care provider can also encourage the older adult to be more physically active by getting them to move around more at home, driving them to an exercise class, or just going for walks with them.
If you or an aging loved one is considering elderly care in Park City, MT, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare Billings today at 406-839-2390.