Findings from the retrospective study, based on analysis of patient records from a hospital-based obesity service, were reported in the journal Clinical Endocrinology.
For this study, the researchers randomly picked 242 patients being treated for obesity at the Warwickshire Institute for the Study of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at UHCW from 2005 to 2016. The put the patients in two groups — younger than 60 and 60-78 years old — and compared the weight loss they achieved during their time being treated.
The hospital-based WISDEM program used only lifestyle-based changes tailored to each individual patient, focusing on dietary changes, psychological support and encouragement of physical activity. Most of the patients referred to the obesity service were morbidly obese with BMIs typically over 40Kgm-2.
All patients had their body weight measured both before and after lifestyle interventions, and the percentage of weight loss was calculated across both groups.
“When compared, the two groups were equivalent statistically, with those aged 60 years and over on average reducing their body weight by 7.3% compared with a body weight reduction of 6.9% in those aged under 60 years. Both groups spent a similar amount of time within the obesity service, on average 33.6 months for those 60 years and over, and 41.5 months for those younger than 60 years,” the researchers wrote.
Barber added: “Age should be no barrier to lifestyle management of obesity. Rather than putting up barriers to older people accessing weight loss programmes, we should be proactively facilitating that process. To do otherwise would risk further and unnecessary neglect of older people through societal ageist misconceptions.”