BMI (body mass index) is a key indicator of overall health. The guidelines recommend that all adults maintain their BMI in the range of 18 to 24.9. A BMI of 25 or more shows that you are overweight. And a BMI of more than 30 indicates obesity.
However, a few extra pounds may not be as harmful to people over the age of 65 as they are to younger people. In fact, insufficient weight – that’s something older people should worry about.
This article will discuss healthy weight ranges and BMI for seniors. It will also help you learn how BMI affects older people and why it is dangerous for older people to be underweight.
How BMI Affects Older People
BMI is calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms by your height in square meters. There are many online calculators and tables that can help you determine your BMI based on standard metrics (inches, pounds), if you prefer.
There are higher health risks associated with a high BMI. These include:
The risks apply to all age groups.
However, there is a relationship between BMI and health factors in the elderly. This has led some experts, including the national institutes of health, to suggest that it may be a good idea for older people to maintain a BMI between 25 and 27.
Dangers of low body weight
One of the largest studies that aimed to determine how much BMI affects the health of older people was published in 2014 in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers collected BMI data from 32 studies. It included 197,940 adult participants (all over age 65) followed for at least five years.
Despite what many people believe, if you are an adult over 65 years old, insufficient weight increases the risk of death. But being overweight doesn’t.
In fact, several studies have shown that underweight at age 65 is associated with poor health and lower longevity. Overweight or obesity at age 65 was only rarely associated with poorer health or lower life expectancy. This was compared to those who were at a healthy weight at age 65.
Sometimes, overweight and obese study participants had better health outcomes. But despite this evidence, this does not mean that older people should gain weight or obesity specifically.
The Korean study collected data based on interviews with 542 people, whose average age was 74 years. Scientists have found that health-related quality of life factors, such as social functioning, emotional health, and pain, do not get worse because of a higher BMI in older people.
Additional studies show that older people who do not have a low BMI enjoy greater independence. In fact, a study published in Gerontology and geriatrics Archives. it showed that elderly people with BMI over 30 years of age did not experience a decrease in activity in daily living.
Health risks and problems
While these facts are interesting, that doesn’t mean you should avoid losing weight if you are overweight. We know that several chronic diseases get worse when you are overweight.
These health problems include:
But no less worrying is how low body weight negatively affects the aging of the body and the treatment of chronic diseases.
There are no formal guidelines on what the ideal weight range or BMI should be for people over age 65. Experts recommend doing everything possible to ensure that older people do not lose weight as a result of illness or poor diet.
It can be difficult to avoid weight loss if you have chronic disorders related to poor nutrition. Many diseases like Cancer, gastric-intestinal diseases and neurological diseases can cause problems that prevent older people from getting proper nutrition. This will reduce BMI, often for the first time in their lives.
Low weight increases the risk of developing serious health problems. And it reduces your chances of recovering from the disease. For example, people who have suffered stroke with insufficiency they have worse results than people who have had an overweight or medium weight stroke.
Scientific evidence does not tell us what the ideal weight patterns are for a long life. But we know from the study of people living to age 100 that a healthy weight seems to be an important part of a long life.
Weight Maintenance Goals
When trying to stay healthy, you should work with your doctor to set the right goal. Despite the charts and calculators, the target BMI is not the same for everyone. You may need to consider additional considerations.
For example, if you have diabetes, your doctor may recommend that you lose weight. But your doctor may ask you to try eating more nutritious foods if you have a condition like anemia.
As you get older, some situations make it harder to adjust to your target BMI. These factors include:
- Health problems
- Changes in activity level
- Changes in your metabolism
When faced with these problems, you may need the help of a nutritionist. A nutritionist can help you determine your calorie goals. Nutritionists can also help you decide if you need to take vitamin and mineral supplements.
What is equally important is to recognize when weight loss occurs. It is also important to take steps to fix it before losing too many pounds.
When you become an adult, extreme weight loss doesn’t necessarily have to happen. If you lose too many pounds, it could mean you’re not reaching the ideal dietary goals for your age. It can also mean that you have health problems that your doctor needs to examine. It is important to take early action if you are underweight.
Weight gain tips for seniors
- Add foods with a high calorie-to-volume ratio to your diet, including nuts, nut butter, avocados, dried fruits, whole grains, pasta, chocolate, cheese, and low-fat dairy products.
- Eat five to six small meals a day instead of the traditional three.
- Be sure to consume 1 gram of protein per kilogram per day.
- Sprinkle the food with extra virgin olive oil. Provides 887 calories per 100 grams.
- Cook high-calorie dishes, such as soups and stews, in large quantities so they are always at hand.
- Talk to your doctor about appropriate dietary supplements.
Your BMI is a sign of your overall health. Doctors recommend that most adults keep their BMI in the range of 18 to 24.9. Adults with a BMI greater than 25 are considered obese. On the other hand, older people do better if they have a BMI of 25 to 27. Studies show that underweight adults over 65 experience more health problems and have a shorter life expectancy.
A licensed dietitian can help you identify the best foods for your health. They can also help you choose vitamin and mineral supplements to improve your nutrition.
A Few Words From Get Meds Info
Trying to maintain a healthy BMI can be extremely frustrating. Some people struggle with low weight, while others struggle with overweight. If you are older and find that you have trouble maintaining a healthy weight, talk to your doctor or dietitian. They can provide you with the tools you need to follow the diet that best suits your body and your unique situation.