Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Extra Pounds Today Predict Mobility Limitation in Old age

I guess you could say I wasn't surprised by the findings of this study just published in April's issue of The American Journal of Epidemiology. You see, as more and more evidence mounts, all signs point to the fact that obesity at any point in your life has significant impacts on your future health. Think about it - studies are constantly being conducted on individuals of all life stages; overweight and obesity is an epidemic these days, even in childhood!

This new study investigated the effects of overweight or obesity over the course of one's adult life - through their 20's, 50's and 70's - as it is related to impairments in mobility in old age. The researchers weighed, calculated the body mass index, and assessed mobility in 2,845 participants in their 70s. None of them had mobility limitations to start. They were followed for 7 years and once again, the same measures were taken. The participants' weights from their 20's and 50's were recalled and BMI's were calculated.

It turns out that excess weight at any time point was correlated with mobility limitations, even if the pounds were shed in the meantime. There was a graded response in mobility limitations based on being overweight or obese at one time point, two or all three. According to one of the researchers, "
Excess weight can put stress on joints, make exercise difficult, and lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease -- all of which are directly related to the development of mobility problems".

I guess the main message is simply this - the longer you carry around excess weight, the greater disservice you're doing yourself not only right now but definitely in the future.