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The adverse affects of being overweight are not limited to physical function but also extend to neurological function, according to research in the latest issue of The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Sciences.

The publication presents a collection of ten articles highlighting new findings related to obesity in older persons.

“One of the unanticipated consequences of improved medical management of cardiovascular disease is that many obese individuals reach old age,” reported Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences from scientists from the National Institute on Aging. “We need a better understanding of the causes and consequences of obesity in older individuals — especially when
obesity is associated with sarcopenia.”

A study conducted at Sweden’s Jönköping University, found that
individuals with higher midlife body mass index (BMI) scores had
significantly lower general cognitive ability and significantly steeper
decline than their thinner counterparts over time. These statistics
were compiled from a study of Swedish twins that took place over
the course of nearly 40 years, the results were the same for both men and women.

Other studies reported in the journal show that obesity appears
particularly threatening in the presence of other health problems,
such as poor muscle strength and depression.

Similarly, changes in weight also signify declines in overall health.
A team of researchers from the University of Washington, Seattle,
found that such fluctuations are significant indicators of future
physical limitations and mortality in the elderly. The researchers
used data from the Cardiovascular Health Study, which included
information from over 3,000 individuals aged 65 and older.
They discovered that a history of cyclically losing
and gaining weight increased a person’s chance of having
difficulty with activities of daily living including the simple tasks
of bathing, dressing, eating, etc., by 28 percent.

Source: The Gerontological Society of America.

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