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tim1028 (@tim1028)

BMI and the Elderly

Healthy Living | Last Active: Oct 6, 2023 | Replies (9)

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@sueinmn

Both my mother's trusted internist in the early 200's and my primary physician have said not to be worried about a little extra weight if you are otherwise fit and eat a healthy diet. That unexpected illnesses, injuries and surgeries can change things in a heartbeat, and those fat stores are protection for your bones and organs.

This certainly was true in my mother's final years. She was always what I called middle-sized - muscular and slightly padded. By her final year, after a number of illnesses and strokes, she was frail and much smaller.

I stressed a bit over weight when I was in my early 60's, then I had 4 major surgeries in less than one year, and lost all of the "extra" weight plus some more due to complications. I would have been a skeleton if I started at my "ideal" weight. Five years after that, having regained my former weight, I got a severe long-term lung infection and lost 20% of my body weight - since I started at 125#, you can imagine how gaunt I was.

So there is truth behind this - and you can probably observe examples among your family and friends. The only caution I have is, too much weight stresses bones, joints, muscles, heart and lungs, so there is a fine line to walk, especially if you have a family or personal history of hypertension, heart disease or stroke.
Sue

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Replies to "Both my mother's trusted internist in the early 200's and my primary physician have said not..."

The main reason for a little extra weight, as Sue mentioned, is to have a reserve against unexpected illness, injuries or surgeries. I haven't read that it has a beneficial effect on bone loss or other problems. The article said that extra protein, to help slow muscle mass loss with aging, is helpful. As recommended, I aim for about 1.2 grams of protein per kg of weight. The nutritional experts suggest that this should be spaced out over the day, because the body cannot absorb over 20 to 30 grams of protein at a single meal.

So perfect, Sue.
I'm sad to learn you've been thru so much.
I think we also need to talk about the types of tissue in our weight. BMI does not distinguish between fat and muscle. As we age, we lose muscle and tendon tissue. (That is what I'm fighting at the moment.) Often, loss of muscle tissue is replaced with fat. So ideally we should be fortifying our muscle and tendon tissue regardless of whether we're also putting on some extra fat weight. But sometimes we just have more fat while remains within the standard annual muscle loss with aging or even if we maintain muscle well.
The most current just emerging determinants for condition is the waist- hip ratio. It is a new indicator in weight assessment. It indicates whether weight may be a problem in regards to cardiovascular health, primarily.
Further, doctors are now putting forth the suggestion that a new vital sign should be added. That is "grip strength." Studies have shown that this measurement is a significant + critical predictor of true conditioning, especially in seniors.