Disability Rising Among Older and Obese Adults
According to Upenn School of Medicine researchers, older individuals are more likely today to suffer from some form of disability than they were a decade earlier. The researchers chock this up to longer life expectancy (the longer you live, the more time you have for things to go wrong with you) and obesity occurring at younger ages. The part about obesity actually makes a lot of sense. Extreme body weight, or even bodyweight significantly above the norm, has a degenerative effect on weight-bearing joints and spinal discs, one that is progressive and which leads to functional limitations and restrictions.
According to the researchers, among that segment of the population age sixty and older, the chance of having some functional limitations has increased a whopping forty-three percent.
This may be a natural outgrowth of a society that has increasingly, over time, become more sedentary, both in its work activity and recreational habits. In fact, its more than possible. It's likely, particularly when one considers the epidemic-like rise in the incidence of type II diabetes, a condition that involves either decreased pancreatic function or increased insulin resistance (or a combination of both factors) but which is very often accompanied by A) decreased physical activity and B) increased body mass index levels (a higher degree of weight per height).
Interestingly enough, the researchers find that certain obesity risk factors such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol have declined (no doubt due to advances in medication therapy), underscoring the likelihood that decreased mobility and functional limitations among the aged are probably a result of obesity occurring at younger ages (again, meaning more time for degenerative processes to do their damage).
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