Older Patients Are Able to Lose Weight As Well as Younger Patients

Weight gain and obesity can affect anyone, regardless of age. There may be barriers that exist for older people with obesity.

Weightcontrol.com: What are the main findings?

 Our study, conducted at the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, involved a retrospective assessment of patients who had attended our tier 3 hospital-based obesity service over an 11 year period (between 2005 and 2016). We divided the patients into two groups based on their age at referral to our obesity service: one group aged under 60 years, and the other group aged between 60 to 78 years. Each group of patients lost weight through lifestyle (primarily dietary) input during the time that they received input from our obesity team. Furthermore, the magnitude of weight loss was equivalent between the two groups. We therefore demonstrated that age per se has no appreciable effect on ability to lose weight through lifestyle intervention within the context of a hospital-based tier 3 obesity service. Patients of older age (≥60 years) are able to lose weight through lifestyle means just as well as younger patients.  

Weightcontrol.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Weight gain and obesity can affect anyone, regardless of age. There may be barriers that exist for older people with obesity. This may include psychological barriers that weight loss would not be effective or beneficial for them. There may be a reluctance of healthcare professionals to refer older patients to obesity services, or for the latter to accept such patients based on their age.

Our study shows that overall, older people with obesity can respond well to lifestyle interventions delivered within a hospital-based setting, and lose just as much weight as younger patients. Given the importance of obesity for our health, and a current focus on the maintenance of health and wellbeing with healthy ageing, as a society we need to break down any barriers that impede engagement with lifestyle measures to lose weight in older people with obesity. Age is no barrier to successful weight loss.

Weightcontrol.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Future research should further explore existing barriers to older people receiving support with lifestyle strategies to lose weight within hospital-based tier 3 obesity services. This should include the development of strategies to overcome these barriers.

Weightcontrol.com: Is there anything else you would like to add? Any disclosures?

Response: The authors have no disclosures. Our study was published recently in the journal, Clinical Endocrinology.


Eimear Leyden, Petra Hanson, Louise Halder, Lucy Rout, Ishbel Cherry, Emma Shuttlewood, Donna Poole, Mark Loveder, Jenny Abraham, Ioannis Kyrou, Harpal S. Randeva, FT Lam, Vinod Menon, Thomas M. Barber. Older age does not influence the success of weight loss through the implementation of lifestyle modification. Clinical Endocrinology, 2020; DOI: 10.1111/cen.14354

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Last Updated on November 21, 2020 by weightcontrol