chapter  7
14 Pages

Obesity in the Elderly: Prevalence, Consequences, and Treatment

In young and middle-aged individuals, obesity is an important metabolic and cardiovascular risk factor that is associated with highly prevalent disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, and atherosclerosis (1). While older individuals may not appear to be obese, they frequently suffer from these obesity-related disorders. This has led some investigators in the field of aging to consider many older individuals as having a ‘‘covert’’ form of obesity. Because the elderly are the fastest-growing segment of our population and contribute disproportionately to overall health care utilization and cost (2), the problem of obesity and obesity-related diseases in this older population could have staggering repercussions to our health care system as a whole, as well as to the lives of many older individuals and their families (3).