January 10th, 2018
Obesity and aging – conclusion and implications for future research
The gains made in healthy aging and life expectancy face the challenge of increasing obesity cases in the elderly. With the United Nations estimates on population demographics indicating the proportion of people above the age of 65 gradually increasing for many countries, the failure to effectively deal with increasing adult obesity poses a risk for gains made by improved approaches towards healthcare. This paper evaluated the effectiveness of physical activity in preventing and treating obesity in old age. The study used BRFSS 2005 data and the WHEAT tool to carry out the analysis. The results of the study indicate that physical activity is a critical factor in reducing the risk of obesity and overweight both in the elderly (65 and above years) and the adults below this age though at varying rates.
Limitations to the study relate to various challenges noted with BRFSS data. Since the data estimating prevalence relies on self-reported measurements of height and weight, there is a likelihood of erroneous results with both male and female respondents having the tendency to overestimate their height and female respondents underestimating their weight (Merrill & Richardson, 2009). Similarly, the methodology involved in data collection for BRFSS reports leaves the sections of the society without fixed telephone connection out of the reports creating a possibility for underreporting of obesity cases (CDC, 2010a).
Irrespective of these limitations, the study bears a number of implications for obesity and aging research. With the obesity cases remaining high, there needs to be research into better ways that encourage the adult population to live a health lifestyle. Encouraging physical activity in addition to behavioral changes and healthy eating habits to prevent the onset of obesity could prove important in reducing the prevalence of obesity to manageable levels.
Brach, J. S., VanSwearingen, J. M., FitzGerald, S. J., Storti, K. L. & Kriska, A. M. (2004). The relationship among physical activity, obesity and physical function in community-dwelling older women. Preventive Medicine, 39(1), 74-80. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.02.044
Byles, J. (2009). Obesity: the new global threat to healthy ageing and longevity. Health Sociology Review 18(4), 412-422. Retrieved September 18, 2010 from http://hsr.e-contentmanagement.com/archives/vol/18/issue/4/article/3200/obesity
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC. (2005a). Overview: BRFSS 2005. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/technical_infodata/surveydata/2005/overview_05.rtf
—–. (2005b). WEAT: Web Enabled Analysis Tool. Retrieved September 18, 2010, from http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/s_broker/htmsql.exe/weat/index.hsql
——. (2010a). Vital signs: state-specific obesity prevalence among adults – United States, 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 59 (August 3). Retrieved September 18, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/wk/mm59e0803.pdf
——–. (2010b). Obesity trends among U.S. adults between 1985 and 2009. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 59(30). Retrieved September 18, 2010 from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/downloads/obesity_trends_2009.pdf
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Merck Company Foundation. (2007). The state of aging and health in America 2007. Whitehouse station, NJ: The Merck Company Foundation. Retrieved September 19, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/Aging/pdf/saha_2007.pdf
Clapham, J. C., arch, J. R. S. & Tadayyon, M. (2001). Anti-obesity drugs: a critical review of current therapies and future opportunities. Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 89(1), 81-121. doi:10.1016/S0163-7258(00)00105-4
Cherniack, E. P. (2008). Potential applications for alternative medicine to treat obesity in an aging population. Alternative Medicine Review, 13(1), 34-42. Retrieved September 18, 2010 from http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/13/1/34.pdf
Dubnov, G., Brzezinski, A. & Berry, E. M. (2003). Weight control and the management of obesity after menopause: the role of physical activity. Maturitas, 44(2), 89-101. doi:10.1016/S0378-5122(02)00328-6.
Flegal, K. M., Carroll, M. D., Ogden, C. L. & Curtin, L. R. (2010). Prevalence and trends in obesity among US adults, 1999-2008. Journal of the American Medical Association, 303(3), 235-241. Retrieved September 15, 2010, from http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/303/3/235?ijkey=ijKHq6YbJn3Oo&keytype=ref&siteid=amajnls
Merrill, R. M. & Richardson, J. S. (2009). Validity of self-reported height, weight, and body mass index: findings from the national health and nutrition examination survey, 2001-2006. Preventing Chronic Disease, 6(4), 1-10. Retrieved September 20, 2010, from http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2009/oct/pdf/08_0229.pdf
Ogden, C. L., Carroll, M. D., Curtin, L. R., McDowell, M. A., Tabak, C. J. & Flegal, K. M. (2006). Prevalence of overweight and obesity in the United States, 199-2004. Journal of the American Medical Association, 295(13), 1549-1555. Retrieved September 15, 2010 from http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/295/13/1549
Salihu, H. M., Bonnema, S. M. & Alio, A. P. (2009). Obesity: What is an elderly population growing into? Maturitas, 63(1), 7-12. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2009.02.010
United Nations. (2009). World population prospects: the 2008 revision population database. Retrieved September 16, 2010, from http://esa.un.org/unpp/
Vassalle, C., Maffei, S., Ndreu, R. & Mercuri, A. (2009). Age-related oxidative stress modulation by smoking habit and obesity. Clinical Biochemistry, 42(7/8), 739-741. doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2008.11.017