Obesity. We have been told for a long time that this is a national problem. But how does that relate to all of us in
According to Weight of the State for 2009, a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health, 55 percent of adults
in our state are overweight or obese. The highest
for being obese and overweight is among those 45 or older - men more so than women. For those over 45, overweight
percentages were reported as 47 for men and 30 for women.
As our population ages,
increasing issues related to weight may reverse the current decline in cardiovascular
disease and other chronic health conditions.
Annual health fairs in the spring commonly measure height and weight and then convert those values to body mass index,or BMI. Although many may be immediately concerned about their personal" BMI number, it should be noted that BMI was
never intended to be used for individual measure, but rather for population trends.
As we age, our bodies change in four relevant aspects: skeletal muscle mass decreases, body fat increases, daily
caloric intake needed to maintain weight decreases 5 percent per decade, and a compression of the spine occurs.
Consequently, BMI that relates weight to height becomes less useful as an indicator of overall health over time - so it
is recommended to add waist circumference measurement as an adjunct to the BMI. We naturally put more fat in the
abdominal area as we age, so maintaining waist measurements of less than 40 inches for men and less than 35 inches for
women are recommended for those over 60.
Is intentional weight loss for those over 60 years of age useful? In the maturing years, our bodies experience hormonal
changes as well. Because of these changes, an extra 10
percent of total body weight is accounted for in these calculations as optimal," compared to those in younger age
categories. Basically this equates to that optimal" weight of 130 pounds for the 5-foot-6 woman at 30 years of age now
becoming 143 pounds for the same woman at 60-plus.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute recommends evaluating the potential benefit of weight reduction as it
relates to day-to-day functioning, as well as one's motivation for maintaining weight reduction. This recommendation
should not be confused with dictated disease prevention efforts that aim to achieve and maintain 7 percent loss of
initial body weight through a low-calorie, low-fat diet merged with moderate intensity physical activity.
What does all this mean?
Despite the phrase 60 is the new 40," we are all aging. As we age we get shorter, wider and jigglier in the middle and
we shouldn't eat as much.
Evaluate your size, for starters, and then supplement your diet with ½ ounce fluid per pound body weight daily, and be
sure fiber intake is 21-30 grams. Try to consume 7-10 ounces of quality protein daily and supplement your diet with
400-600 international units of vitamin D.
If you couple these dietary suggestions with a daily balance of aerobic exercises, you are on the right track.
or 247-4355. Wendy Rice is family and consumer science agent for the La Plata County Extension Office.