Weight gain in old age: causes and health risks | NDR.de – Guide

Status: 05.07.2022 10:13 a.m.

After 40, many people gain weight. Common causes are changes in hormonal balance and muscle breakdown. Weight gain can have consequences such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Eating healthy is essential for weight loss.

Weight often increases gradually with age, from half a kilogram to a full kilogram per year. Doctors cite a variety of changes in the body as causes, for example in muscle weight, hormonal balance, and altered lifestyle habits in so-called midlife. Many people struggle to lose weight.

Causes of weight gain in the elderly

There are several reasons for age-related weight gain:

  • energy consumption: From the age of 30, muscle mass decreases by 0.2 to 1% per year. At the same time, the percentage of fat in the body increases. Because fat cells consume fewer calories than muscle cells, the so-called basal metabolic rate decreases. For example, it is up to 30% less for a 75-year-old man than for a 25-year-old man.
  • hormones: Estrogen levels decline in women during menopause and testosterone levels in men with age. This reduces muscle mass and reduces energy consumption.
  • metabolism: From the age of 60, resting metabolism slows down. an international Research on 6,000 people has shown that calorie consumption then decreases by about 0.7% each year.
  • movement: Many people move less as they age. It can also reduce muscle mass. A breakdown of muscles leads to a drop in calorie consumption.

If you eat a little more each day than you consume, you will gain weight: if the average additional intake is only 19 calories per day, the excess calories add up to a weight gain of one kilogram after one year.

Diseases caused by age-related weight gain

If age-related changes lead to obesity, it affects blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood lipid levels. These diseases can be the consequence:

Determine overweight with BMI and waist circumference

Body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference help determine if you are overweight:

  • Of the BMI is calculated by dividing your own body weight by the square of your height in meters. Example: If a woman is 1.69 meters tall and weighs 85 kilograms, then her BMI is “85: (1.69 x 1.69) = 29.8”. A BMI of 25 or more is considered mildly obese (pre-obese) and a BMI of 30 or more is considered obese (obese).
  • Belly fat in particular can have a negative effect on health. According to the World Health Organization, women should waist size from 88 centimeters, men from 102 centimeters. The reason: fatty tissue in the abdominal region produces pathogenic hormones. They promote high blood pressure and underlying inflammation. Belly fat also releases fatty acids into the blood. This can have a negative effect on blood lipid levels, increase the risk of arteriosclerosis and therefore damage the heart.

Lose weight by eating healthy and exercising

To reduce obesity, exercise and a balanced, low-fat diet are important. The diet should include more healthy protein, fewer unhealthy carbs, and fewer sweets.

medical doctor Matthias Riedl, specialist in internal medicine, diabetologist
Hamburg medicine
At the Straw House 2
20097 Hamburg
(040) 80 79 79 0

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