Weight loss isn’t affected by age: the study

Weight loss isn't affected by age: the study

Weight loss and age

It is a common thought that losing weight is more difficult with age, due to contributing causes that often have to do with the onset of pathologies and unfamiliar lifestyles. A new study has subverted that thesis. Research offers encouragement to the aging population that, through maintaining a healthy weight , they can contribute to their health.

In an obesity program conducted by Warwick Medical School , UK, weight loss was unaffected by age, with results statistically equivalent for people younger than 60. The study demonstrated that weight loss is a determining factor at any age but that, as we age, we are more likely to develop obesity-related comorbidities.

Many of these are similar to the effects of aging , so it could be argued that the importance of weight loss increases with age, but not that it’s difficult to achieve. The authors of the English study have highlighted how weight loss can help older people deal with more than 50 comorbidities common with age, including diabetes, osteoarthritis and mood disorders , such as anxiety and depression . Increased mortality and a general lack of well-being in the elderly are also associated with obesity.

The study: correlation between weight and advancing age

The team of researchers analyzed the medical records of 242 randomly selected people who had participated in the obesity service offered by the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism (WISDEM) program  between 2005 and 2016.

The researchers divided the sample into two groups: people under 60 and people between the ages of 60 and 78. All participants were morbidly obese at baseline, with BMI measurements above 40. The analysis compared weight loss outcomes in the two groups, supported by changes in eating plan , physical exercise, and psychological and motivational support . The results: Weight loss in both groups was statistically equivalent. People in the older group lost an average of 7.3 percent of their body weight, while those in the under-60 group lost 6.9 percent.

Medications and weight gain


Some medicines can interfere with weight loss, even leading to gain in some cases.

  • atypical antipsychotics , especially olanzapine , quetiapine and risperidone,
  • anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers, especially gabapentin ,
  • blood sugar lowering drugs , such as tolbutamide,
  • glucocorticoids used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
  • some  antidepressants. 

Losing weight and getting older: the rules


When a person consumes more calories than they use for energy, the body stores the excess calories as fat . This can lead to excess weight and obesity.

Foods that increase your risk of weight gain include:

  • fried foods
  • fatty and processed meats
  • many dairy products
  • foods with added sugar , such as baked goods , ready-made breakfast cereals , and cookies
  • foods containing hidden sugars , such as ketchup and many other canned and packaged food products
  • sugary juices, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages
  • processed and carbohydrate-rich foods, such as bread and bagels
  • foods that contain high fructose corn syrup as a sweetener , including salty foods, such as ketchup.


Physical activity

Many people lead a much more sedentary lifestyle than their parents and grandparents.

Examples of sedentary habits include:

  • work in an office rather than doing manual work
  • watching TV on the sofa instead of exercising outdoors
  • go places by car instead of walking or cycling

The less a person moves, the fewer calories they burn. In addition, physical activity affects the functioning of hormones , which in turn determine how the body metabolizes food. Moving can, for example, help keep insulin levels stable which, if out of balance, can lead to weight gain.

It is not necessary to attend classes in the gym : it will be sufficient to dedicate 40 minutes a day to physical activity, such as walking or cycling. However, the type and intensity of the activity can influence the degree of benefit to the body in the short and long term.


Lack of sleep and disorders that cause restlessness increase the risk of gaining weight and developing obesity. Sleep deprivation can lead to obesity because it contributes to hormonal changes that increase appetite . When a person doesn’t get enough sleep, the body produces ghrelin , a hormone that stimulates appetite. At the same time, lack of sleep also results in lower production of leptin , a hormone that reduces it.



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