Dangers of Obesity in Seniors

Obesity Leads to all Kinds of Diseases

The Obesity Epidemic

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) more than 41% of US seniors age 60 and over are obese. More than 42% of middle-aged adults age 40-59 years are obese.

Obesity has been shown to be a high risk factor for many diseases:

  • Certain kinds of cancers
  • Coronary Heart disease
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Strokes
  • Type II Diabetes

Diabetes alone is a high risk factor for so many diseases and can even lead to amputations of limbs.

Extra Body Mass Index (BMI) at Middle Age is a High Risk for Dementia

As if all of these are not enough, a study published 2017, in the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Journal showed that having extra body mass index (BMI) in midlife is a high risk factor for dementia.

The study investigated data on 1.3 million dementia-free adults from 39 studies who were residing in the US and Europe.

Those who were overweight around age 50, about 20-30 years before the onset of dementia actually lost weight from metabolic changes when the pre-clinical phase of dementia began around age 70. However, there were 20-30 years where they were carrying around extra body mass, which may have been harmful. In other words they went from being overweight until the pre-clinical stage about 10 years before the dementia began. When dementia began they were actually underweight.

Waist Measurement

The researchers found an association between a large waist mass circumference at age 50 and dementia.

Pre-dementia Symptoms

Actually these seniors had lost about 10% of their body mass by the time dementia set in. Some studies have shown that middle age obesity and old age obesity are associated with brain shrinkage.

Those that were heading towards full dementia became apathetic, were having problems with the ability to smell and lacked initiative to do many things. Since smell and taste are related they may simply have lost interest in food and eating.


The researchers conclude obesity at age 50 is a risk factor for dementia, but not at age 60 or 70. The ongoing obesity epidemic may influence the onset of dementia in the future.


If you or your loved one are overweight, it pays to make lifestyle changes to bring your weight down in the hope you can avoid many chronic and dangerous diseases that can come from being overweight including the possibility of also becoming demented.

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse NY

If you are searching for a skilled long-term nursing care solution for your loved one who may already have Alzheimer’s and dementia, then look for a place that puts emphasis on good nutrition like the Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Syracuse NY.

The Van Duyn Center has an onsite chef who prepares nutritious healthy meals. Read more about cuisine at Van Duyn in our blog of May 30, 2018.




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