Make a choice today – become healthier. Move more, eat better, drink plenty of water and lose weight. There is a number of reasons why you should do that, including health risks associated with being overweight. Scientists from UCL found that people who are obese from childhood through to middle age are more than twice as likely to have difficulty with daily tasks when they are 50.
Scientists analysed data from 8,674 participants from the 1958 National Child Development Study. Results of the analysis were rather unsurprising – obesity at any age in adulthood can be associated with greater risk of poor physical functioning at age 50. This study confirms that relaxing and just giving up maintaining a healthy weight is a bad decision to make. Men who become obese at 45-50 are 50 % more likely to struggle with daily tasks, such as lifting stuff. For women the risk increase is even greater at 78 %. Difficulty completing daily tasks is, of course, closely associated with a lower quality of life.
Physical condition was assessed using a questionnaire that asked participants how able they were to do the physical tasks of daily living such as carrying shopping, bending, kneeling, climbing up stairs and walking moderate distances. Scientists found that half of the participants had a poor physical ability – they struggled to stoop, bend, kneel. Around a quarter had trouble bathing or dressing. Participants understood that a better physical condition meant a better life – more independence, ability to work longer, partake in active lifestyle with your family and so on.
Our population is ageing, which means that more and more people will struggle to live independently. However, we cannot prevent ageing, but we could stop people from being overweight. People have to be conscious about the effects of gaining weight and what it can cause later in life. Dr Pinto Pereira, senior author of the study, said: “Examining physical functioning in middle age is crucial because there may be scope to intervene to delay or possibly reverse poor physical functioning before older ages when problems may be harder to alter”.
So this is what you can change today – start thinking about your future and people who depend on you. You don’t want to become a challenge for anyone. You don’t want to be a burden. You want to be independent as you are. Therefore, eat healthier, move more and take a closer look at what the scale is showing you. Walk more, eat less and stay in shape – there are no downsides to that.