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How aging adults can maintain a healthy weight

Calorie-counting and watching one's weight is often seen as a young person's game. But even aging men and women should recognize the importance of main taining a healthy weight.

Older adults may experience weight gain or unintentional weight loss. Understanding how to address each in healthy ways is important.

Weight loss tips

More than two-thirds of Americans, including adults age 65 and older, are overweight and obese, according to U.S. News & World Report. A combination of fac tors can contribute to weight gain in older adults, including a slower metabolism and a tendency to be more sedentary with age.

Empty nesters also may be less likely to cook their own meals, relying on convenience foods – some of which may be high in fat and/or calories.

Sustained healthy weight at any age is linked to improved heart health, mental health benefits like increased self-confidence, healthy joints, and much more.

These tips can help aging individuals maintain healthy weights.

• Incorporate strength or resistance training into your weekly routine. Lifting weights or engaging in resistance training with elastic bands or body weight can restore muscle tone and speed up metabolism. Adults should aim for strength training twice a week.

• Monitor sugar and starch intake. Many older adults have elevated blood sugar levels due to insulin resistance.

When cells become resistant to insulin, glucose doesn't get used up and remains in the blood. Eventually this can lead to pre-diabetes, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Many people with these conditions have a hard time losing weight.

Avoiding added sugars and extra carbohydrates could help.

• Practice portion control. A 60-year- old can't eat the same way he or she did at age 30 or 40. Nutritionists say that, with every decade that passes, people generally need about 100 fewer calories a day to maintain their weights.

Avoiding malnutrition-related weight loss Malnutrition is a common component in unintentional weight loss in ag- ing populations. Reduction in senses of small and taste, smaller appetites and lack of desire to make meals can contribute to malnutrition and weight loss. Underlying health problems also may lead to unwanted and unhealthy weight loss. Tracking weight loss and getting sufficient nutrients is vital to aging adults' overall health. Individuals whose BMI is less than 23 could be putting themselves in jeopardy.

Older adults need to adjust their routines as they age in order to maintain healthy weights. Such adjustments can reduce seniors' risk for disease and improve their quality of life.

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