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J Okla State Med Assoc. 2004 Oct;97(10):437-9; quiz 440-1.

Obesity in the elderly: survival of the fit or fat.

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  • 1Donald W. Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine, Oklahoma University Health Science Center, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA.


Obesity is an important health problem for the growing elderly segment of the population. Age-related changes in body composition should be taken into account when considering morbidity. Today, sarcopenic obesity, which is defined as excess fat with loss of lean body mass, is a highly prevalent problem. Obesity in the elderly is related to morbidity; e.g., sleep apnea, cancer, osteoarthritis, diabetes and hypertension. The advantages and disadvantages of using BMI, waist circumference, waist: hip ratio, and body weight to measure age-related changes in obesity are discussed. In addition, the merits of treatment options for obesity; e.g., behavioral modifications, diet, and exercise--are described. One important conclusion derived from a review of these treatments is that age itself is not a contraindication for pharmacotherapy or even surgery for morbid obesity.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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