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Why is Your Weight Important As You Age?

Maintaining your weight is important to your future health status. As people age, they lose some muscle mass, therefore increasing frailty. The rate you burn calories at is less, especially if you are not an active person. To prevent muscle mass loss and weight gain, one needs to eat fewer empty calories. This means you have smaller amounts of calories to work with in getting the nutrients your body needs for energy and to retain muscle mass. You need to eat foods that are “nutrient dense.” Such as these: fruits and vegetables (choose a range of types with vibrant colors); whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, and brown rice; fat-free or low-fat milk and cheese that are fortified with vitamin D and calcium; seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs; beans, nuts, and seeds.

While a healthy weight is going to vary from person to person, a good rule of thumb is plus or minus 5% of current weight. Ask your health care provider about what a healthy weight is for you.  For older Americans, being underweight is a concern and may be related to not having enough to eat, not eating enough foods that are nutrient dense, or having an underlying illness or disease. Being overweight is also a concern as extra weight could increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone strength and joint issues. Eating sensibly and exercising will help you to maintain muscle mass and a healthy weight as you age.

Reference: Secretary, HHS Office of the, and President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. Importance of Good Nutrition. 26 Jan. 2017, www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/importance-of-good-nutrition/index.html.

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