Obesity in Men Over 50 – Slow Suicide?
The facts prove out that overweight men over 50 lead a shorter life
If you are over 50 and overweight, you are more likely to develop health problems leading to premature death.
Although obesity in senior men creates broad, negative impacts on health and happiness, some specific effects from senior obesity include heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
Obese men over 50 experience a greater risk of coronary heart disease. The mechanisms responsible for weight-related increase in blood pressure are still unclear.
One possible link between weight gain and hypertension is the acquired insulin-resistance in obese men. Insulin has been shown in multiple studies to have acute effects on the nervous system, on kidney function, and on the cardiovascular system that could lead to hypertension.
Excess weight puts a strain on the entire circulatory system and makes people more susceptible to high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes – all of which can increase risk for stroke. A new study by Columbia researchers indicates those with abdominal obesity are at higher risk of stroke caused by blockage or constriction of a blood vessel in the brain.
According to the Center for Disease Control, men over 50 are eating themselves into a diabetes epidemic. The International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) says that, “Diabetes form obesity is the biggest public health challenge of the 21st century”.
Of senior men diagnosed with type II diabetes, about 80 to 90 percent are also diagnosed as obese. Being overweight places extra stress on your body in a variety of ways, including your body’s ability to maintain proper blood glucose levels. In fact, being overweight can cause your body to become resistant to insulin.
Obesity and inactivity play roles in cancer, include increased hormone levels, alterations in insulin levels, chronic hypertension and damaging inflammatory agents.
Obese and diabetic men have far higher risk than lean mean of getting cancer, and when they do get it, their risk of dying from it is greater. With obesity and diabetes rates skyrocketing, the need to understand this link has become far more urgent.
As many as one-third of common cancers in industrialized nations are linked to excess weight and lack of physical activity, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
One study of more than 7,000 subjects found evidence of a link between excess weight and several cancers. While the precise link isn’t understood, fat cells can encourage the body to produce more substances such as insulin or hormones that can stimulate tumor growth, scientists say.
Just one in ten over-50s meet the recommended target of moderate exercise, such as fast walking, for half an hour, five times a week and a third admit to doing none whatsoever, the survey for Saga Health Insurance found.
One simple check is the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), a measure of abdominal obesity. Take the waist measurement just below the lowest rib, and hip measurement at the middle of the hips/pelvis.
The WHR provides a quick and easy measure for the risk of developing serious health conditions. Research shows that people with “apple-shaped” bodies (with more weight around the waist) face more health risks than those with “pear-shaped” bodies who carry more weight around the hips.
Abdominal obesity is defined as a waist–hip ratio above 0.95 for men The National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) states men with more than 1.0 are at increased health risk.
If you are a man over 50 who is obese, get on a diet and exercise program now.
“People might think they can do themselves the most good by taking a vitamin or mineral supplement, when actually what they need to do, to do the most good, is to be physically active and control their weight,” said June Stevens, head of the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health.