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Obesity in older persons.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: There is an increasing number of reports suggesting that indicators of obesity for the general adult population may need to be modified; that the magnitude of risk is attenuated or that adiposity may even be protective; and that additional adverse outcomes specific to older persons need to be considered. Finally, there are benefits and adverse effects of weight loss programmes for older persons. This article reviews publications addressing these issues from 2013 to March 2014.

RECENT FINDINGS: BMI was not considered to be as good an indicator of obesity because of loss of muscle mass with age. Higher body weight seems to be protective among older persons with chronic diseases or geriatric syndromes. Increased adiposity together with decreased muscle mass (sarcopenic obesity) is associated with adverse outcomes, although there is no consensus regarding the definition. Intentional weight loss has health benefits but is accompanied by muscle and bone loss, and therefore programmes should include components to counteract these changes.

SUMMARY: The magnitude of health risk associated with obesity is attenuated with age, and mild increase in adiposity may be beneficial for those who are frail and/or with chronic diseases. Weight loss programmes should include resistance exercises to counteract muscle loss.

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