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Obesity: How A National Problem Is Spelling Profit For Medical Suppliers

Senior citizens like the rest of society are becoming heavier. Between 1982 and 1999 obesity among senior citizens doubled and the trend is increasing. Over 25 percent of Americans over 50 are now considered obese. Excess weight may impair one’s quality of life by placing undue stress on the joints, heart, and spine and/or aggravating hypertension, diabetes or health conditions. As persons age, calorie needs decline after age 50. Metabolism can decrease by 30 percent over the course of a lifetime. A decrease in calories or an increase in activity is needed to counteract the decline in metabolism. Unfortunately, most seniors don’t do this.

Most people continue to eat like they always have and become less physically active as they become older. When the body ages, body fat increases and muscle mass declines. Although fewer calories are needed, nutrient requirements remain constant. Thus, it is important for senior citizens to eat fewer calorie rich foods such as sweets, high fat snack and fried foods and replace them with more nutrients rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are much lower in calories and they contain many more nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals need by the body. These nutrients help to protect the body against chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Obesity is the new cancer by *Barbiedull on deviantART

There are many ways to increase one’s physical activity, as one grows older. Walking, swimming and other low-impact activities can help keep weight down. Weight training can help keep muscle mass from declining. Exercising in a warm water pool or doing Tai Chi can help those with arthritis or other joint problems. Even those who are not able to stand may benefit from exercising while seated. Chair dancing video’s are available for people of all ages who are more comfortable exercising while seated. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 34 percent of adults age 20 and older are obese, and the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery estimates that around 220,000 obese Americans underwent bariatric surgery– a common type of weight-loss surgery– in 2009.

A June 2010 survey by the medical supply contractor, Noavation, which includes hospitals in the University Health System Consortium and VHA member health care organizations, found that a majority of the facilities had purchased at least one type of bariatric equipment including lifts, beds, stretchers or transfer devices to accommodate the rise in morbidly obese patients, people with a body mass index of 40 or greater. Nearly 80 percent of the hospitals also reported using special wheelchairs, walkers and blood pressure cuffs for larger patients. The supplies, though needed, are also very costly.

“The cost of these supplies is significantly more compared to standard supplies with bariatric beds costing more than $20,000 more, and bariatric wheelchairs costing almost seven times as much,” the researchers explain. Most healthcare and assisted living environments provide the services of registered dieticians as part of their nutritional program along with age-specific exercise programs.
Depending on your personal situation, this special-needs subject may be one to explore when researching assisted living for yourself or a loved one.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Philadelphia and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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