How will your fat impact you in old age?

According to the Australian Department of Health, the rates of overweight and obesity amongst adults have doubled over the past two decades with Australia now being ranked as one of the fattest developed nations.

In our later years, more than a third of us are so fat that we are classified as obese. 37% of men and 25% aged of women aged 75 years or older, were classified as overweight or obese.

A study on older, larger Australians 

Researcher Anna Peeters (from the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute) looked at data from about 6000 people in Australia. The study was to identify “risk factors for chronic illness”.

Think about it. The larger your body is, the harder it is to operate and use. I know when I am even slightly overweight – I feel slow, sluggish, tired. At a leaner weight, it’s simply easier to get around. I remember the pain of being overweight and nothing was easy – I had to dress more carefully, sit a certain way so that I felt ‘modest’. I was always trying to cover myself up, my clothes were often uncomfortable.

The relief of a body with a healthy BMI

When I first started to lose weight I was about 17 and had only been very big for a couple of years. It was such a relief to be able to wear any clothes I wanted to. My body felt so free.

They say that it’s easier to lose weight when you are younger, due to a faster metabolism. Now they are saying that it’s overweight and obese old people that will struggle in old age with basic things like walking 200 meters, dressing, showering and going to the toilet.

“Researchers compared respondents’ body mass index (BMI) – a measure of fat – in middle age to levels of ‘‘self-care disability’’ 14 years later, including whether they had any difficulty bathing, eating, dressing, going to the toilet or getting out of a chair or bed.”

Obesity impacts mobility in later life 

This is a scary thought, particularly for those who have gotten larger in middle age. I see it all the time in my age group. At about 35 it’s really easy to put on weight and ignore it. The Victorian Department of Health offered a snapshot of obesity in Australia and its likely impact into the future.

‘‘Our research showing that overweight and obesity in middle age will compromise people’s ability to live independently in old age has implications for the coming generation of elderly, their families and government.’’

Should workplaces do more to combat obesity?

“VicHealth called for workplaces to play a greater role in encouraging a healthy workforce including conducting standing or walking meetings, locating printers and rubbish bins away from desks, and providing access to healthy foods in vending machines.”

Health in your office

Personally, I agree that the modern workplace is killing us. I absolutely want a treadmill desk and I would love to have walking meetings . The place where I work is really great with providing fresh fruit, varieties of toast, coffee and tea. They give us beer on Fridays (blergh – I hate beer) and ping pong and foos ball. We also sometimes play Friday sport.

I want the initiative in Russia where you can get a free train ticket if you do squats: “To promote the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, subway stations in Moscow have added these impressive new machines which allow passengers to do 30 squats for a train ticket.”


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