Does Obesity = Premature Aging?
Researchers at Montreal’s Concordia University reviewed more than 200 papers that studied obesity’s effect on cells, tissues and the entire body. They reported that obesity influences physical changes including decreasing the length of telomeres, protective caps on the ends of chromosomes that normally shorten with age. They found that telomeres in obese patients can be as much as 25 percent shorter than those seen in patients of the same age who are not obese. The researchers also noted that the negative influences of obesity on cognitive ability, mobility, blood pressure and stress are similar to those of aging. In addition, they cited the damaging effects of obesity on the immune system, including an increased susceptibility to influenza, which often occurs in obese people at a higher rate than it does among normal weight individuals. The report included notation that obesity increases the risk of sarcopenia, an age-related disease that leads to a decline in muscle mass and strength. Study leader Sylvia Santosa said the inspiration for the study came when she realized how many obese children were developing health concerns that normally occur among adults, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and “type 2” diabetes
Sylvia Santosa et al, “Obesity and ageing: Two sides of the same coin.” Obesity Reviews, February 5, 2020, DOI: 10.1111/obr.12991
More from this week’s bulletin:
- Too Many Americans Are Obese
- Weight Gain After Breast Cancer
- Ready for picnic weather? Try: Roasted Asparagus Salad, Arugula & Hazelnuts
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