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It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that obesity is a threat to health and in turn increases one’s chances of dying early. There are plenty of studies to support this supposition, but older people and women are often underrepresented in this realm of scientific research. That is until now.
The Health Impacts of Obesity on Older Women
A large national study, recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine tracked more than 36,000 post-menopausal women at nationwide research centers and universities. The Women’s Health Initiative study began in 1993 and concluded in 2012. The average age of participants was 72.

In a nutshell the researchers looked at the impact that obesity took on women’s health. A Feb. 19, 2014 New York Times article featured an interview with the lead author, Dr. Eileen Rillamas-Sun. “We found that women with a healthy body weight had a greater chance of living to 85 without developing a chronic disease or a mobility disability,” Dr. Rillamas-Sun stated in the article.

Indeed, overeating, as a habit, can have permanent physiological effects far beyond the weight gain. Habitual overeating can obviously lead to weight gain and, too often, obesity. Overeating, especially chronic consumption of sugar and starchy foods, can cause a dangerous slowing of the metabolism with detrimental effects to your health.

Doctors sometimes refer to a condition known as Metabolic Syndrome. It is a genuine medical definition, but the symptoms (abdominal fat, high blood pressure, elevated blood glucose, high serum triglycerides, and low serum high-density cholesterol (HDL)) seem unremarkable, common and somewhat unrelated.

But, what is really going on in a slowing metabolism? Your metabolism is a highly complex system that converts food-fuels into energy but is also highly adapted to store any excess energy resources as fat. Chronic shunting of food-fuel into fat storage fundamentally alters our mitochondria– the tiny biochemical power units within every cell.
Mitochondria burn fat molecules to produce the energy to power every cell in our bodies. Exercise increases mitochondrial number, size and fat burning efficiency. But, when the body remains for long periods in fat storage mode (e.g. overeating and limited exercise), mitochondrial size and number decrease and the ability of the mitochondria to provide energy for our body systems becomes limited.

Analogous to the macro-scale strength and fitness of our musculature, the microscopic mitochondria require regular training as well. Lethargy and overeating force the body to specialize in fuel storage rather than fuel burning in the mitochondria.
However, all is not lost. Older women (and men) can repair some of the metabolic damage wrought from obesity (and age) through diet, exercise, cold exposure and certain supplements. In the coming weeks, the Juvenon Health Blog will explore trending science in this field.

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The Health Impacts of Obesity on Older Women
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It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that obesity is a threat to health and in turn increases one’s chances of dying early. There are plenty of studies to support this supposition, but older people and women are often underrepresented in this realm of scientific research. That is until now.
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2 Comments

  1. Marilyn L. Flaherty says:

    I am in the category of “older women” at 79 1/2. However, mentally, I am 39 years if my body will cooperate accordingly. Unfortunately, I inherited bad knees as well as feet and have had knee replacement as well as foot reconstruction, both by outstanding physicians here in Houston. These surgeries are not a perfect answer to the problem but do provide me with better body parts than what I contended with. I feel fortunate to be a healthy person with no really serious health concerns, except a metabolism that will not function as I wish. I can remember such a short time ago that losing pounds was not such an effort, so I enjoyed this article and hope you can address this problem in the near future! I have enjoyed a beautiful life with the “perfect man” who succombed to Cancer in 1998, but am blessed with our 6 grown children- 5 beautiful daughters and 1 son, as well as beautiful and caring spouses. We are a very close and very busy family and all of my daughters call me every day, beginning at 6 am. With my youngest daughter marrying the oldest of 6 in his family, we total close to 30+ on special occasions which are many. I have 11 grandchildren. Such Joy! I thank you for your great work, and shall order your Cellular Health. I can not accept any loss of energy and strength or achy feelings so I probably need one of everything you have developed! Thank goodness I have always slept well and I fall asleep quickly. I did not realize how many people have a problem until recent years when other older family members expressed envy over my ability to fall asleep so quickly. Sincerely, Marilyn L. Flaherty

     
  2. Ann Lindemann says:

    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment, Marilyn! We loved hearing your personal story of health and happiness. Your input about the issues you face is very helpful to us as we are always researching new products to address the issues of aging. Check back often, as we add new content to our site. In the meantime, it would be wonderful if you could email me, Ann Lindemann, at alindemann@juvenon.com. I’d love to chat with you more! Thanks again.

     

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