The motivations for losing weight between people of different ages is radically different, according to a study in health research journal Obesity. The study found that people think in contrasting ways about weight loss depending on their age, with a knock-on effect on how they approach losing excess weight.
Some analysts are now suggesting that these findings could be used to better target weight loss energies and resources for more effective outcomes. But do the numbers stack up?
According to findings from a sample of 2,964 people, those with ages of 18–35 and 36–50 approached the notion of weight loss from different perspectives. Young participants were more likely to mention appearance and social factors as their motivation for losing weight, while those in the older classification were more likely to cite health reasons for keeping their weight low.
Young adults are more likely than their seniors to lose weight through their own efforts, or to attend an exercise class to tackle their weight issues. By contrast, older respondents were more likely to seek medical assistance in losing weight, and had a higher propensity to join a commercial fat loss or exercise program.
The findings could influence health education policy, with potentially more effective results. Understanding the most powerful motivating factors for losing weight can help segment resources so authorities and health services can achieve better public health outcomes. And with obesity levels still at record levels in the US, this type of research could have a significant impact on future health problems and costs.
While the motivations for losing weight in the first place differ between age groups according to the study’s findings, the results are the same. Losing weight reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and a number of other ailments that arise as a direct consequence of unhealthy lifestyles. Age is no barrier to the health benefits exercise can bring, and a healthier, more active lifestyle can help lengthen the lifespan in both young and old.
For those that want to shed excess weight, exercise has become an increasingly low-cost and viable option – for all members of the family. The Little Gym locations spread across the country, for example, provide opportunities for kids from just four months old to start exercises and learning healthier, more active ways. Moms can even join in with their youngsters in parent and child sessions, designed to foster a keener interest in fitness amongst adults and the younger generation.
Perhaps one of the major differences between the young and old slimmers targeted is the ability to keep the weight off. Older dieters were much more likely to make a permanent change in their weight than their younger counterparts, who were more likely to waver up and down relative to their ideal weight.
While both age classifications were engaged in exercise, the most energetic were perhaps unsurprisingly the young. However, with younger dieters more likely to regain lost weight, perhaps it’s essential for this exercise to keep weight more permanently under control.