It's no big secret that being overweight increases the risk of many diseases, and recent research shows that a few extra pounds could also shorten an older individual's life expectancy. The study focused on the body mass index (BMI), which is the same for all adults – even though the same BMI may mean higher body fat content in women than it does in men, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Scientists from Adventist Health Studies recently concluded at 29-year study concerning mortality and body weight. At the beginning of the study, the 6,030 participants had no diagnosed chronic disease, were non-smokers and maintained a stable weight. They found that higher body mass indexes in adults over the age of 70 directly correlated with shorter life expectancies.
Excess body fat can decrease an older adult's mobility, in which case a medical alert system may be a wise investment, should anything happen to an aging individual. The National Institute of Aging reports that obesity in the elderly is caused by a decrease in physical activity as they age, so exercise is important as well.