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Over 65? Being moderately overweight can be good for you!

It’s the time of year again when the TV is full of adverts of delicious Christmas foods trying to tempt us to indulge over the festive period. Then as soon as Boxing Day arrives our screens are full of companies trying to convince us to go “on diets” by using their company/products to lose weight. I have written about the unhelpful pressures of media on those struggling with weight many times before. Results of studies relating to obesity can be analysed and translated in many different ways and skewed results are sometimes used to make headlines but are often misinterpreted and reported out of context. This can then in turn put more pressure on people to try and lose weight, but in fact can have the opposite effect, as most people struggle to lose weight and then cannot keep it off in the long term. Indeed, numerous studies have found that being in the “overweight” category can mean people are able to deal with illnesses better as they age and also suggest that they are likely to live longer than those with a low body weight, but this information is not often reported by the media.

There is also some good news if you are over 65 years of age. Last month the British Dietetic Society (BDA) brought out a new fact sheet which advised that taking pleasure in food and drink can help you eat well and maintain your health. It also stated that increased enjoyment can be gained by choosing foods and drinks that you enjoy and like preparing and that sharing a meal with family or friends is more beneficial than eating alone.

For those aged 65 or over and who are “overweight” the BDA said that “losing some of our excess pounds might not be good for our health at all” and by suggesting that older adults need to lose weight it may make them less resilient. If you are only slightly overweight, then losing weight might not actually improve your health. As we age, maintaining a steady weight is usually best for health by allowing our body to provide energy to help to keep well, socialise and be active. If you are very overweight, then losing some weight may be good for your health but it is most important you do this by eating a nutrient rich diet and taking regular exercise to maintain muscle.

If you have a low body weight, then it is advisable to eat foods which are opposite to those we are encouraged to eat to lose weight. Indulging in higher calorie dense foods could help you to gain weight which in turn could offer some vital health protection. Drinking enough fluid is important for everyone as we age. Fluids not only include water but tea, coffee, milk, squash and hot chocolate. Women need to drink at least 3 pints of fluid a day and men 3½ pints of fluid.

So, over the Christmas period, I hope you all enjoy eating the festive foods on offer, many of which are good for health, such as vegetables, fruits and berries and nuts to name but a few.

I wish all my readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year

Nicola Rose DipCH BSc (Hons) RNutr is a fully Registered Nutritionist and Clinical Hypnotherapist. She worked for a specialist NHS weight management service for many years. If you have any questions on this article or require a personal trainer please email Nicola at


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