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Higher prevalence of obesity shown among middle-aged and elderly
10.25.2012A Gallup survey indicates that, while all U.S. adults are more likely to be obese than they were in 2008, the odds are significantly higher for people in three age groups - the 40s, 70s and 80s.
Older individuals are already more likely than younger patients to require immediate care for ailments including heart attack and stroke. Obesity, likewise, adds to the probability of encountering emergency department physicians due to complications from type 2 obesity and heart disease. The experts told the news source that health issues related to excessive weight could dampen the quality of life for seniors, and significantly increase the odds of middle-aged people requiring more complex and intensive healthcare as they approach old age.
"Middle-aged adults and advanced seniors were the most likely to see an increase in the percentage of people in that age group with higher obesity rates than four years ago," said the researchers behind the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index. "Most Americans who are over the age of 35 are now significantly more likely to be obese than those who were that same age four years ago."
Within the past four years, the prevalence of obesity among individuals between the ages of 40 and 47 years old jumped 2 percent. The same held true for patients between 72 and 79 years old, and those between 84 and 87.
Possible 'point of no return' shown for obesity
Other studies conducted on mice show what may be an ominous trend for people who have been obese or overweight for long periods of time.
Scientists from the University of Michigan conducted an experiment where they shut off the proopiomelanocortin (Pomc) gene in the the animals, which caused them to eat uncontrollably. Once they became obese, the gene was switched back on to make their appetites normal again. Because some mice were kept without their natural appetite controls switched off for longer periods of time than others, it was shown that the longer mice stayed obese, the more likely they were to physically register the extra weight as normal.
"Our new animal model will be useful in pinpointing the reasons why most adults find it exceedingly difficult to maintain meaningful weight loss from dieting and exercise alone," said co-author Malcolm Low, a professor of molecular and integrative physiology and internal medicine.
Health consequences of obesity go beyond the obvious
Not all problems related to obesity pertain specifically to invdividual health and well-being. For example, CBS recently reported that the New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said that obesity is draining $12 billion from the state annually. The costs are expected to rise as the population begins to grow older. The news source said Medicaid has been using more than $4.3 billion of its resources per year to treat obesity-related illnesses.
Meanwhile, information offered in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery shows that obesity also has adverse effects on knee replacement surgery.
"Although these results are not really surprising, for the obese patient, this literature sheds new light on treatment options for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis," said lead author Gino Kerhoffs. "A total knee replacement is not the 'easy solution.'"
Kerhoffs and his associates at the Academic Medical Center at the University of Amsterdam show that the chances of both superficial and deep infections after a knee replacement are doubled in a patient is obese.
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