Overweight and obesity are classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as excessive fat accumulations that pose health hazards. According to a Spanish poll, obesity significantly increased (from 7.4% to 17.4%) between 1987 and 2017. Intriguingly, obesity has been found to be more common in men than in women under the age of 65. However, after the age of 65, women outweighed men in terms of obesity.
The global population’s eating habits have changed significantly as a result of industrialization, economic development, urbanization, and the globalization of the food market. There are now more options for low-nutrition foods including refined, processed, and high-fat foods as a result of some of these changes. Obesity is brought on by a high intake of certain foods and sedentary lifestyles. Numerous chronic disorders, such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, the emergence of neurological diseases, and cancer, are frequently linked to obesity.
Older folks are more likely to be obese. There has been a worldwide rise in the older population as a result of longer life expectancies and lower birth rates. In 2020, there were 9.28 million people in Spain who were over the age of 64.
Age-appropriate treatments that emphasize a healthy diet and regular exercise can successfully encourage weight loss in older persons. However, implementing these measures incorrectly can harm a person’s muscles, nutrition, and bone health. Additionally, malnutrition can result from a lack of vital vitamins and minerals, which may raise the risk of mortality and morbidity.
Older people’s bodies change as they age, with lean mass declining and fat mass rising. Because weight loss reduces both fat mass (FM) and fat-free mass, inappropriate weight loss therapies may exacerbate the body’s natural tendency to lose muscle mass (FFM). However, well-organized and monitored weight loss interventions are secure and beneficial for older individuals’ health.
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Combining physical exercise and food limitations produced better effects than either strategy alone. An analysis of a two-year intervention program based on Mediterranean diet patterns for treating obese and overweight older individuals was published in the Nutrients journal recently.
Concerning the Study
This study comprised a total of 51 participants who were over 60 and from the Spanish Mediterranean city of Alicante. The body mass index (BMI) of every individual was higher than 25 kg/m2. Participants were matched at baseline for clinical characteristics and randomly assigned to the experimental and control groups.
Individualized instruction in weight management, psychological support, and food education was provided to participants in the experimental group. A qualified dietitian and nutritionist delivered the dietary and nutritional intervention. Both the individuals’ eating patterns and weight loss were tracked. Six, twelve, and twenty-four months after the baseline assessment, every participant was reevaluated.
The Food Frequency (MEDIS-FFQ) questionnaire was used to gauge participants’ food consumption, and the Mediterranean Diet Prevention Group (PREDIMED) survey was used to gauge how closely they adhered to the suggested diet. Additionally, psychiatric assessments using the PHQ-9 were made, including how severe the symptoms of depression were (Patient Health Questionnaire). These questionnaires’ values were recorded as scores.
After two years of dietary and nutritional intervention, a considerable weight loss that included a drop in fat mass, BMI, and a reduction in waist circumference happened in the experimental group. But there was no distinction between the two groups in terms of the hip circumference or the waist-hip index.
According to the study done over a two-year period, both the experimental and control groups showed higher PHQ-9 questionnaire scores. But over time, there was no discernible improvement in the PREDIMED and GAD-7 scores. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) lockdown occurred at the same time as the intervention, which may be the cause of the GAD-7 scores not improving. Social interaction was drastically curtailed during the national lockdown, which might have increased anxiety. Lower risk of developing chronic diseases is also reflected in an improved PHQ-9 questionnaire score.
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The scores of both groups on adherence to the Mediterranean diet did not significantly improve. However, it should be highlighted that the experimental group individuals had high starting scores at the beginning of the intervention, indicating good adherence to MD.
A few restrictions apply to the study, including limited sample size. Because all participants were from a single Spanish city, it is also difficult to generalize the results. Overall evaluations of the two-year Mediterranean diet regimen, however, show that older obese individuals lose large amounts of weight and see decreases in their BMI, percentage of fat mass, and waist circumference.