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Dublin: 7 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

80% of Irish over 50s are overweight

The study, led by Trinity College, found that Irish men are on par with Americans when it comes to obesity.

Image: Obesity

FOUR OUT OF five Irish over-50s are either overweight or obese, a new study has found.

A new report released today by the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA), a national study of over 8,000 people aged 50 and over in Ireland, led by Trinity College Dublin, shows nearly four out of five adults over the age of 50 are either overweight or obese.

A similar proportion has an ‘increased’ or ‘substantially increased’ waist circumference.

The report also highlights the increased health risks and health services burden in older adults due to high rates of obesity.

A higher proportion of men and women with obesity report a doctor’s diagnosis of at least one cardiovascular disease, compared to those with a normal waist circumference.

The report also highlights the serious burden that these levels of obesity and overweight are placing on Ireland’s health services.

It says that obesity costs the Irish health system €1.3 billion a year.

Speaking about the findings, Dr Siobhan Leahy, TILDA Research Fellow and lead author of the report said: “TILDA is the first study to look specifically at obesity in the over 50s in Ireland.

“Our findings show not only worryingly high levels of obesity but also the impact of these levels on health and everyday activity among the over 50s in Ireland. The proportion of over 50s in Ireland who are overweight or obese is significantly higher than that of the general adult population in Ireland.

“While this age group is already more likely to be affected by age-related illness, frailty and cardiovascular disease, these conditions are exacerbated by the presence of obesity and significantly higher levels of disease and disability are evident in obese individuals.

“Our study highlights the combined impact of the obesity crisis and a rapidly ageing population on health and health service demand.”

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