Keeping a healthy weight is important not only during the entirety of your life, but is especially crucial when aging. Eating nutritious foods, practicing portion control and being physically active daily can go a long way toward healthy aging. Making sure you are getting your daily nutrients is especially important if you are unable to be physically active. Healthy weight is not “one size fits all” – it varies from person to person. If you are unsure what a healthy weight is for you, speak with your healthcare provider.
Being underweight is concerning among older people and can relate to not getting the right amount of nutrients, not getting enough food, or having an illness or disease. Being overweight is just as much of a concern, too, as the extra weight may increase risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and bone issues. Eating healthy and being physically active can help prevent preserve muscle and bone, and can help you maintain your strength and a healthy weight.
There are a couple different ways to find out if you are at a healthy weight:
- The Body Max Index (BMI) – BMI is a measure of height in relation to weight. BMI is limited in how well it gauges body fat in older people and those who have lost muscle.
- Measuring your waist may tell you if have extra fat. A waist circumference of more than 35 inches for women or 40 inches for men can indicate increased rick for a several health problems.
Maintaining a healthy weight is largely dependent on your food choices, no matter how old you are! Your body changes through your 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and beyond, and the food you eat provides nutrients you need as you age. If you are unsure about how to choose healthy meals as you get older, check out these tips below for help:
- Drink plenty of fluids – as you age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Try to drink water as often as you can. If you find difficulty in drinking water, try low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice to help you stay hydrated. Try to limit drinks that have sugar or salt added.
- Know how much to eat – learn how much your body needs for nutrition and energy and how to portion that size out for each meal. If you are eating out, one restaurant dish may be enough for two or more meals.
- Plan healthy meals – search and find trusted nutrition information from several sites like ChooseMyPlate.gov to get advice on what to eat, how much to eat, and which foods you want to choose from.
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