Challenges in Treatment of Obesity in the Elderly
43% of American adults aged over 60 are living with obesity. The number increases from one year to another. Obesity is linked to more than 200 other serious health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, etc. Obesity is also a leading comorbidity for serious cases of COVID-19.
If you or your beloved ones live with obesity, you should be aware of the treatment and help available. You should also feel empowered to take action to improve your mental or physical health. The five major ways to create a supportive environment to provide better care for older adults with obesity include:
- Obesity is often saddled with negative misperceptions. Often this stigma–not science–shapes how older adults are treated medically and generally among their social circles. Obesity is a chronic condition associated with an increased risk of falling, sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension, and many other health conditions.
- Bias against patients with weight issues can make a health care provider less kind, supportive, and compassionate, compromising the level of care they deliver. Contact your local or state legislator asking them to initiate or support legislation that prohibits weight bias.
- Repeating the phrase, “eat less and move more” is not a sufficient prevention program for obesity. Society must continue to develop a full portfolio of science-based obesity prevention programs and then make those proven programs readily available to all.
- Obesity care also remains out of reach for millions of older Americans because Medicare fails to recognize obesity as a serious disease. It’s time to recognize obesity as a serious, chronic disease so we can build a holistic and equitable approach to obesity prevention and management
- Successful and safe obesity care and weight management require a combination of science-based treatment options, community strategies, and comprehensive continuums of care. Keep an eye out for the policy discussion demanding robust, science-based health support systems and treatments.