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GSA publishes recommendations for the successful care of older adults with obesity

A summit convened by the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) has resulted in the identification of seven strategies for successful care of older adults with obesity, outlined in a new publication, “Bringing Obesity Management to the Forefront of Care for Older Adults: Seven Strategies for Success.”

This new publication expands the GSA library of resources on overweight and obesity, and supports The GSA KAER Toolkit for the Management of Obesity in Older Adults. The summit, held in Washington DC in June 2023, welcomed researchers, clinicians and representatives from a variety of communities of interest including advocacy organisations and professional societies.

“Obesity is now recognised as a chronic disease requiring lifelong therapy to correct abnormalities in a complex interplay of genetics, gastrointestinal and pancreatic hormones, gut-brain signalling, the environment and socioeconomic factors,” said summit co-chair and GSA member, Dr John A Batsis, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Moreover, he added that older adults are particularly vulnerable to the negative consequences of overweight and obesity.

As identified by the interdisciplinary expert summit participants, the seven strategies to address barriers to quality obesity care for older adults are:

  • Inform and educate about obesity as a chronic disease, requiring care across the lifespan.

  • Address weight bias and stigma among health providers and the public.

  • Use person-first language when referring to someone who has obesity.

  • Respect and honour cultural considerations about body size.

  • Engineer environments of care to accommodate people of all body sizes.

  • Ensure access to the full range of care for older adults with obesity: diet, exercise, behavioural modification, and medical and surgical interventions.

  • Incorporate an interprofessional, evidence-based approach to caring for older adults who have obesity.

“Older adults should be cared for by an interprofessional team during the weight loss process to ensure that the clinical goals are achieved without compromising overall health or other conditions,” said summit co-chair and GSA member, Dr Kathryn N Porter Starr, from Duke University School of Medicine. “Patients may need long-term contact with registered dietitians, exercise physiologists, physical and/or occupational therapists, social workers, pharmacists and other involved members of the health care team.”

The summit and white paper were developed by GSA with the support of Novo Nordisk. To access the paper, ‘Bringing Obesity Management to the Forefront of Care for Older Adults: Seven Strategies for Success’, please click here


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