MONDAY, Nov. 11 (HealthDay News) — Women who are obese as they near retirement age have a higher risk of early death and may find their remaining years blighted by disability, researchers say. Obese women are three to six times more likely to suffer a disability late in life that will make it difficult for them to get around, with the risk rising with their level of obesity, according to a new study published online Nov. 11 in JAMA Internal Medicine.
A second study in the same journal issue found that being overweight or obese raises your risk of heart attack and heart disease even if you are otherwise healthy.The number of women aged 85 years and older in the United States is increasing, according to study background information, with 11.6 million women expected to reach 85 by 2050. Obesity rates also continue to increase, and nearly one-third of U.S. women 75 years and older are obese. This extra weight not only reduces life span, but also can severely harm an older woman’s quality of life.
“For dying and losing the ability to walk, the risks were alarmingly high — over threefold to upwards of over sixfold,” said study co-author Eileen Rillamas-Sun, a staff scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in Seattle. “I believe that remaining mobile is very important to most older people, especially since it is useful for retaining one’s independence.”