Diet and Exercise Can Improve Physical Function and Quality of Life in Obese Older Adults: Study

Obese Older Adults

A recently published study review has found that diet and exercise could improve physical function and quality of life in older adults dealing with obesity.

The Study

Researchers analyzed six distinct studies, as well as 13 that were based on the same study population, for a total of 405 adults with obesity, all ages 60 and up but with the average study group age being 65 years old. The findings were as follows:

  • The weight loss seen across all of the studies ranged from 0.5 to 10.7kg
  • Studies that included dietary components showed more weight loss than studies with exercise alone
  • Exercise alone seemed to improve physical function, but not weight loss
  • Combining dietary and exercise approaches showed the greatest improvements in physical performance and quality of life while reducing loss of muscle and bone mass

“Obesity in older adults is a significant public health concern that will increasingly become a burden to society if we do not address it promptly,” said Dr. John Batsis, author of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society study. “We need solid evidence on how to effectively engage this group of patients to not only improve their weight but, importantly, improve their physical function.”

What This Means

This review suggests once again that diet and exercise can be an effective way to lose weight and improve quality of life among obese individuals. While it is hardly a groundbreaking discovery, it is a fact that needs constant re-emphasis in an age inundated with fad diets plans and “fat-burning” products. The only major weakness of the review is that it seems to have used studies with small populations, given that seven different populations only added up to 405. This issue is a small one, however, since the findings have sound biological and research basis and are supported by past findings.