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“It’s never too late to make a change” is one of the most uttered clichés in the fitness industry. Of course, it refers to the idea that you can alter your life—sometimes in a significant way—no matter how old you are. And now, a new study confirms that truth when it comes to losing weight.
Researchers from the University of Warwick and University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, both in England, found obese people over the age of 60 are able to lose weight at the same rate as younger people by only using lifestyle changes (changing diets, exercising more, etc.)
This refutes the common misconception that older people have a “reduced ability” to lose weight, lead study author Dr. Thomas Barber, of Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick, said in a release.
“Age should be no barrier to lifestyle management of obesity,” Barber said. “Rather than putting up barriers to older people accessing weight loss programs, we should be proactively facilitating that process. To do otherwise would risk further and unnecessary neglect of older people through societal ageist misconceptions.”
Researchers looked at the weight loss journey of 242 patients at a weight loss clinic and split them into two groups—one with people under 60 and one with people ages 60 to 78. The older group actually had a bigger average decrease in body weight, 7.3 percent, compared to the younger group, 6.9 percent. Both groups spent a similar amount of time at the weight loss clinic.
The program only used lifestyle-based changes for the weight loss, meaning no surgery was performed to help patients shed weight.
As we’ve written in the past, obese patients who lose weight have shown signs of reversing conditions like diabetes, cancer, and even depression. This new study shows that weight loss can and should be an option for older people who want to improve their quality of life.
Remember, age is just a number.