By Nanci Hellmich, USA TODAY
Millions of overweight baby boomers are on the fast track to becoming disabled senior citizens, a possibility that could have dire repercussions for them and for the nation’s already overburdened nursing home system, leading obesity and aging experts say.
“Obesity will have a big impact on increasing disability in this country in the coming years unless the epidemic can be halted and turned back,” says Richard Suzman of the National Institute on Aging.
Public health officials have said for years that obesity increases the risk of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis and cancer. Now a growing body of research suggests that being obese — 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight — increases the chances of becoming disabled at a younger age and unable to perform tasks such as bathing or dressing.