Do standard weight loss programs work in geriatric patients?

January 01, 0001

Do standard weight loss programs work in geriatric patients?

Obesity is a scourge affecting more and more people across age ranges, including geriatric patients. These British authors investigated what interventions are effective in reducing obesity and influencing health outcomes in geriatric patients. They performed a systematic review and meta- analysis using Medline, CINAHL, PsycINFO, the Cochrane database and EMBASE. They we included studies with patients’ mean age 60 years or older and mean body mass index 30 kg/m2, with outcomes at a minimum of 1 year. Data were separately extracted by two reviewers and differences were resolved by consensus. Study interventions included diet, physical activity and mixed approaches. Populations included patients with coronary artery disease, diabetes mellitus and osteoarthritis.

The authors report: "meta-analysis (seven studies) demonstrated a modest but significant weight loss of 3.0 kg at 1 year. Total cholesterol (four studies) did not show a significant change: -0.36 mmol/l. There was no significant change in high-density lipoprotein, low-density lipoprotein or triglycerides. In one study, recurrence of hypertension or cardiovascular events was significantly reduced (hazard ratio 0.65). Six-minute walk test did not significantly change in one study. Health-related quality of life significantly improved in one study but did not improve in a second study."

The authors concluded: "Although modest weight reductions were observed, there is a lack of high-quality evidence to support the efficacy of weight loss programmes in older people."

This systematic review and meta-analysis calls into question whether standard weight loss regimens are appropriate for geriatric patients, and suggest the need for more research in this area.

For the full abstract, click here.

Age and Aging 39(2):176-184, March 2010 39(2):176-184, March 2010
© 2010 to Witham and Avenell
Interventions to achieve long-term weight loss in obese older people: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Miles D. Witham and Alison Avenell. Correspondence to M Witham:

Category: T. Endocrine/Metabolic/Nutritional. Keywords: obesity, geriatric adults, elderly, weight loss, cholesterol, systematic review and meta-analysis, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Paul Schaefer, Toledo, Ohio. Posted on Global Family Doctor 24 February 2010

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