Obesity is emerging as a serious health-related problem. From kids to older adults, it can occur at any age. According to a report published in the Times of India, India is among the top 5 countries suffering from obesity. There are about 102 million overweight people who are more likely to suffer from other diseases, especially the obese elders.
Are you also in your late 40s or more - and suffering from obesity? Or have overweight elders at home? Well! Whatever be the case, we are here to help you out with some easy ways to identify and prevent obesity. Although obesity can occur at any age, senior citizens are at a higher risk. Given their advancing age, they are already more vulnerable to different kinds of illnesses, and obesity makes the situation even worse for them.
In this blog, we will address all your unanswered queries related to obesity in the elderly! So what are you waiting for? Scroll down and read! Before we tell you anything about obesity, let us understand the leading causes of obesity in the elderly.
Causes of Obesity
Obesity occurs due to several reasons, but first, let us break the common myth that food causes obesity. One can consider overeating as a cause of obesity but know that food is not the 'only' reason behind increasing body weight, also not in the case of elders. There can be various reasons for obesity, such as -
● High-calorie intake
● Side effects of medicines
● Lack of physical exertion
● Unhealthy lifestyle habits
● Other health conditions
Apart from the above, there's one more myth that has to be busted, that is the perception of obesity being a disease! Yes, if you have ever come across the term 'obesity disease', then let us tell you that obesity is not a disease, but a health condition! Obesity is the outcome of accumulated fats, and thus it is a condition and not a disease. In such a condition, BMI (Body Mass Index) is more than 30. This is also stated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Possible Risks of Obesity for Elderly
Obesity can become serious if it is not addressed at the right time. In such a situation, elders suffering from obesity may face serious health issues, and after some time, this problem can also turn into fatal diseases. That's why it is said, "Obesity isn't a disease but the mother of every illness".
Although the potential complications of obesity may be many, the top five risks are as follows.
● Obesity can cause Diabetes
Obesity leads to the occurrence of Type-2 diabetes; especially in the case of Elders.
● Obesity increases the risk of heart diseases
Obese elders are at a higher risk of heart diseases. In some severe cases, obesity can also lead to heart failure.
● Obesity increases Blood Pressure
An obese body requires more blood to provide oxygen and other essential nutrients to the body. Hence obesity increases blood pressure.
● Obesity causes Sleeplessness or Insomnia
Obese elders are more likely to experience sleeplessness and other sleep-related disorders. Some studies suggest that obesity is directly associated with daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
● Obesity may lead to Cancer
When obesity increases unusually, it can lead to cancer. According to experts, fat cells may affect body processes that regulate cancer cell growth.
Ways to Prevent Obesity in Elderly
As explained above, obesity can put elderly health at serious risk, so it becomes essential to prevent it on time. Below are some easy ways to prevent obesity in elders:
● Eat mindfully
One of the significant causes of obesity is unhealthy eating habits. Thus, to prevent this, the elderly should pay special attention to their food and eat healthy, nutritious food. Read here some healthy food options that the elderly can add to their everyday diet.
● Physical Exercise
The elderly should exercise daily for at least 30 minutes. By being engaged in physical exercise regularly, elders can easily prevent the risk of obesity. Physical exercise will not only help them to avoid obesity but also lead them towards a healthy and fit body.
● Mental Exercise
Along with physical exercise, elders should also indulge in regular mental exercise. Mental exercises help elders to stay happy and relaxed, by keeping the mind agile and alert - which is a key to a healthy lifestyle. One can learn about various mental activities for the elderly here.
● Sound Sleep
Everyone needs to have a sound sleep for 6 to 8 hours, as it gives the human body the necessary time to rejuvenate and re-energise and also prevent obesity.
● Meditation for Obesity
From easing depression to achieving better concentration in life, meditation is associated with several amazing health benefits. Let us tell you that meditation can also help with obesity! Wondering how? A 2017 review of existing studies found that meditation was an effective method for losing weight and changing eating habits. So along with physical exercise, the elderly should also practice meditation for at least 15-20 minutes a day.
Yoga for Obesity in Elders
Yoga practice heals and cures multiple ills. Therefore, yoga is recommended for weight loss too. According to research published on the NCBI’s website (National Center for Biotechnology Information), yoga practice can also psychologically help in obesity. Yoga improves a person's muscles and metabolic functioning, which can lead to weight loss.
Here are the top three Yoga postures that elders can practice for obesity treatment:
It is advisable to do Tadasana before the other asanas. It helps to reduce fat and eases obesity. With regular tadasana practice, the whole body feels stretched and energetic, leading to an improved blood flow. Simultaneously, it makes the digestive system healthy, corrects the blood circulation, and strengthens bones. This is a simple asana, which is hugely beneficial not just for obesity but also for the elders’ overall well-being.
While doing basic Yoga, the body is in a triangle-like posture, which is why it is called trikonasana. It is considered to be the most useful and straightforward posture, especially for adults suffering from obesity.
Padahastasana is composed of three Sanskrit words- pada means foot, hasta means hands, and asana means posture. While performing this yoga, the hands are kept close to the feet on the ground, due to which it is called Padahastasana. It accelerates blood flow throughout the body. While helping to reduce obesity, this Yoga also eases stiffness in the elderly body.
Factors & Home Remedies for Obesity
● Water for Obesity
It is a crucial factor to stay hydrated. Water promotes good health and reduces excess body fat too. While some food items increase body weight, water burns those extra calories and eases obesity. Besides, water strengthens digestion and cleanses the body internally.
How to use:
❖ Always start the day with a glass of warm water and continue drinking water throughout the day. One can also consume or keep consuming hot-to-luke-warm water.
❖ On an average drink about three to five liters of water a day. Ideal water consumption is perceived to be 1ltr of water for every 20kgs of weight in the body.
❖ You can also drink fruit juices, from selective fruits with less sugar contents, to reduce obesity. Make sure elders consume less sugar, if they want to be successful in their weight loss journey.
● Honey and Lemon
Elders should adopt honey and lemon remedies as a way to reduce obesity. Both of these are natural substances, which have been used for various body problems for a long time. Lemon is a citrus fruit, which is rich in vitamin-C. It also helps to remove excess fat from the body. Honey has a natural sweetness, which promotes weight loss.
How to use:
❖ Drink the juice of half a lemon in a glass of lukewarm water and a teaspoon of honey daily.
❖ Elders can try different other ways of using lemon and honey if the first method doesn't suit their body type.
Reason: It does not suit every body type, because the usage of lemon also causes acid reflux issues in certain individuals. Opt for what suits you best.
Fennel is an effective home remedy for obesity. Fennel is rich in fiber, which helps in weight loss by controlling appetite. As a rich source of antioxidant properties, it also keeps the body away from free radicals.
How to use:
❖ Put two spoons of fennel in a glass of water, leave it overnight, and in the morning, drink on an empty stomach.
● Green Tea
Older adults should consume green tea as a way to reduce obesity. Green tea is an antioxidant and a great source of catechin and caffeine, which helps in reducing obesity.
How to use:
❖ Mix one teaspoon of green tea in one cup of hot water.
❖ Boil it for five to seven minutes.
❖ Now mix a teaspoon of honey in tea and drink slowly.
Tomatoes are rich in amino acids. Amino acids work to remove excess fat from the body. Besides, tomatoes have fewer calories, which control body weight. To remove excess fat, elders should include tomatoes in their daily diet.
How to use:
❖ You can consume tomatoes in cooked food or eat it raw as a salad.
Cabbage is a low protein food. It is low in carbohydrates and high in fibre. For obesity, you can also make cabbage soup and drink it.
How to use:
❖ Chop a medium-sized cabbage, carrot, garlic buds, and some coriander leaves.
❖ To make the cabbage soup, put some water in a pan. Once it's boiled, add chopped vegetables and simmer for a while.
❖ Add one-fourth teaspoon black pepper and salt to taste.
❖ Remove the soup when the vegetables are well boiled.
❖ Now enjoy the hot soup.
Cucumber helps in weight loss in many ways. It is low in calories, so no risk of increasing fat. Also, the amount of water in cucumbers is very high, and waterworks to control body weight.
How to eat:
❖ You can wash and eat cucumbers directly or make cucumber salad.
Obese elders should include carrots in their daily diet. Carrots are low in calories, thus act to control body weight. At the same time, carrots are high in fibre, which helps in reducing obesity. Besides, carrots also serve to strengthen digestive health and the immune system in elders.
How to eat:
❖ You can wash and eat carrots directly or make a salad and have it with lunch and dinner, or consume it as a cooked dish.
● Bottle Gourd
To control the increasing weight of the body, drink gourd juice. It provides vitamin-A, vitamin-C, and iron. High fibre is also found in a gourd, which is the most effective element for easing obesity in the elderly.
How to use:
❖ Peel a bottle-gourd and cut it into small pieces, put it into a juicer, and prepare the juice.
❖ Drink a glass of gourd juice daily.
● Curry leaves
You can use curry leaves as a way to reduce obesity. Curry leaves reduce cholesterol levels, which helps in reducing weight. Apart from this, curry leaves also help in digesting food. The elderly can consume it daily in food.
How to use:
❖ Wash curry leaves thoroughly and soaks 8-10 leaves in water overnight.
❖ Drink this water on an empty stomach every morning, or use them in curries, dal etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Does drinking hot water reduce obesity?
Many types of research have found that a high intake of water can reduce weight. Apart from this, it can also be beneficial for health. If we talk about hot water, research published on NCBI’s website puts forward that hot water/lukewarm water aids in the weight loss processes. NCBI stands for National Center for Biotechnology Information. According to a study, consuming hot water induces the thermogenic effect, by increasing the metabolism rate. This thermogenic effect further aids in reducing the weight and eases the weight loss journey.
2. What are the causes of obesity?
Obesity is mainly the result of consuming more calories, and not burning those extra calories, by either way of not doing physical activity, or due to some other health issues. Besides, it can also be the result of a genetic cause or other medical conditions like depression, anxiety, etc.
3. What should an obese person eat?
An obese person should take special care of their food and drinking habits. Obese people should consume food that contains less calories, like vegetables cooked in a healthy manner, and fruits. They should ensure regular consumption of juices, protein-rich, and fiber-rich foods, assorted dry fruits, as these can aid to help reduce weight.
4. Can obesity be reduced?
As discussed above, obesity is a condition and not a disease. Like diseases and health conditions, obesity can also be reduced by making lifestyle changes. However, some people may not believe it, because they get used to it throughout their lifetime, especially in their later phases of life. Despite this, it is a sure fact that obesity can be reduced with exercise, healthy food consumption, positive lifestyle habits, etc.
5. Can eating bananas reduce obesity?
No, eating bananas does not reduce obesity; instead, it is believed to work to increase weight. Thus, overweight or obese people should make their diet plan on the doctor’s advice to get rid of obesity.
6. Do thin people live longer?
There’s no such study to support this fact. However, this applies to some extent to people who take special care of their health. Also, being thin doesn't assure that they're healthy from within, but obesity is also definitely not a healthy state of being.
7. How much does obesity - reduction surgery cost?
Obesity reduction surgery is known as Bariatric surgery. This surgery’s cost varies from place to place, but if we talk about Delhi-NCR only, this surgery can be done here at a price between 2.5 and 7 lakhs. If you're interested in bariatric surgeries then consult your doctor first, before taking any such discussion.
By now, you must have learned about obesity management, its uses, prevention, and most effective home remedies for weight loss in elders. All the remedies mentioned in the article are natural and very effective. But we do not claim anything to be 100% effective. Also, keep in mind that anyone suffering from any severe illness must obtain medical advice before adopting these obesity measures.
If you have obese elders at home and cannot provide them the necessary care, you can always opt for professional care, like us at Emoha. The professionals at Emoha always keep the elder's health on top of their priority list. You can connect with Emoha at 1800-123-445555 or email@example.com.