Can you picture yourself at 70 years old enjoying an evening stroll? Will you be a cool grandma hanging out on the beach with your grandchildren? Will you tinker with the latest gadget as you sit in your favorite rocking chair? Or do you fear for your future because of ailments that are starting to cripple you now?
If you maintain a lean body, you could enjoy your golden years with great overall health and wellbeing. However, according to a recent study, if you carry extra weight in your midsection as a young adult, and keep it into middle age, your senior years are less likely to be healthy and comfortable.
OBESITY IN MIDDLE AGE
Obesity means having too much body fat. Bodies need some fat to perform important functions, but too much fat can lead to a wide variety of health problems. Diabetes, stroke, and heart disease are among the problems you might face if you are obese. Research has shown over and over again that obesity can cause many health problems, even death. But until recently, very little research had been done specifically on women. Now, a study has looked at 17,000 middle- aged women in the United States. Researchers found that obesity that begins at age 18 and lasts until middle age decreases your chances of a long and healthy life by an astounding 79 percent.
WHO’S GOT A SHOT AT HEALTHY SURVIVAL?
Researchers define “healthy survival” as living to age 70 or older and being free of major chronic diseases.
Good mental health is also a part of healthy survival. Body mass index (BMI) is a measurement of body fat in relation to a person’s height and weight. A BMI that falls between 19 and 25 is considered healthy; a BMI between 25 and 30 is considered overweight, and a BMI over 30 is considered obese. Women with a high BMI at the start of the study had a lower chance of healthy survival.