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Women in their 40s and 60s should ALL get weight-loss counseling, says federally funded health group

Women in their 40s and 60s should ALL get weight-loss counseling, says federally funded health group

Women between the ages of 40 and 60 should ALL be offered weight loss counseling because they gain an average of 1.5 pounds a year and 43% of them are overweight, according to a federally funded women’s health group.

  • Middle-aged women are most likely to be obese, gaining about 1.5 pounds per year
  • The recommendation said they should be offered counseling to help them maintain a healthy weight or limit weight gain
  • It was from the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative, launched in 2016 to “review and update” women’s health advice.
  • Some experts said it would help people make “positive” dietary choices
  • But another warned it could translate into “weight stigma” later in life.

All women between the ages of 40 and 60 should be offered weight loss counseling, a federally funded women’s health group said.

That’s because among women, middle-aged women are most likely to be obese, gaining an average of about 1.5 pounds per year, the doctors added.

The recommendation comes from the Women’s Preventive Services Initiative (WPSI), which says women should be offered counseling to help them maintain a healthy weight or limit weight gain. It was launched in 2016 to “review and update” women’s health advice.

Some experts responded favorably to the advice, saying it would help encourage patients to pay attention to their weight and influence “positive” food choices.

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But one expert hit out at this, warning it would lead to “weight stigma” and ignore the root causes of obesity, including living in poorer areas and lack of access to healthy food.

A federally funded group on women’s health has recommended that all women between the ages of 40 and 60 receive weight loss counseling to help them avoid obesity (file photo)

The data showed that about 43 percent of women in their 40s and 60s – or two in five – are overweight or obese.

However, it is slightly higher for men in the same age group at 46 percent, although similar guidelines do not appear to exist for them.

Obesity is one of the biggest health threats in modern times, putting people at risk for many complications including diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

HOW TO CALCULATE YOUR BODY MASS INDEX – AND WHAT IT MEAN

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height.

Standard formula:

  • BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703

Metric formula:

  • BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))

Measurement:

  • Less than 18.5: Underweight
  • 18.5–24.9: Healthy
  • 25–29.9: Overweight
  • 30–39.9: Obese
  • 40+: Morbidly obese

The WSPI warned that middle-aged women are more prone to obesity as they go through the lifestyle changes associated with menopause.

This leads to a decrease in estrogen levels, which can lead to an increase in fat mass. Aging can also lead to a slower metabolism.

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They said advice to help ‘maintain’ a healthy weight or ‘reduce’ weight gain should be provided at counseling sessions.

The guideline — published in the Annals of Internal Medicine — was led by Dr. David Chelmow, an obstetrician at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine. Most of the authors behind the report were women.

WPSI is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and an affiliate of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Dr. Kate White, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Boston University, criticized the recommendations, saying they could come across as “insensitive.”

She told UPI: “To come in and say, ‘You should add weight loss.’ [difficult circumstances] is, intentionally or not, blind to how people live and how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off.

“You can’t minimize the risk that weight gain in all patients will lead to further weight stigma, which the evidence shows has real consequences for people’s health.”

She added that the advice was also to “dismiss the things that matter most” about why weight gain occurs.

This includes lack of access to healthy foods, lack of time to exercise and challenges associated with living in disadvantaged communities.

In their recommendation, they said: “The WPSI recommends counseling middle-aged women aged 40 to 60 years with a normal or overweight BMI (18.5 to 29.9 kg per square meter) to maintain weight or limit weight gain to prevent obesity and related health conditions.

“Counseling may include one-on-one discussion about healthy eating and physical activity.”

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Obese women are already advised to get counseling to reduce their weight.

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