Move More, Live Longer

If you're watching the waistlines of your parents get a little bigger every birthday, give them the jump-start gift this year. Jump in and really help them get into the groove of a healthier lifestyle.

Let's face it, obesity doesn't set you up for anything good in life. As you get older, it severely affects your quality of life.

Researchers have discovered that carrying around extra weight is a major contributor to increased disability in older people.

A research team from the Peninsula Medical School in England reported in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society that the higher your BMI (body mass index), the more likely you may be to develop mobility problems.

“In most developed countries,” says Dr. Iain Lang, who led the study, “ middle-aged and elderly adults are more likely to be obese than people in any other age group … lead(ing) to a greater burden of disability and ill health and plac(ing) an immense strain on health and social services.”

Encourage your parents to talk about their weight with healthcare professionals and then to act on the advice they get, especially if they're being told to slim down. That's what the researchers recommend.

On the flip side, some older adults aren't eating enough. Geriatricians have expressed concern that many otherwise healthy, older Americans are becoming “calorie obsessed,” cutting out necessary food groups from their formerly balanced diets.

That type of poor diet can set seniors up for malnutrition and other health complications, warns Dr. John B. Murphy, President of the American Geriatrics Society.

You can tap into a wealth of information and resources for seniors online or in person at the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging. Visit their website at  or call the PCA Helpline at 215-765-9040.

Remember: It's never too late. Move a litte more, eat a little better and you can live a longer, healthier life.

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