Why people get fat fast in old age

Why people get fat fast in old age

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Why do people increase more in old age?

Many people have problems maintaining a healthy body weight, especially at an older age. Researchers have now found that fat turnover in adipose tissue decreases with age, which makes weight gain easier.

In the current study by Uppsala University, the University of Lyon and the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, it has now been found that fat turnover in adipose tissue decreases at an advanced age. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "Nature Medicine".

Average weight gain of 20 percent noted

If fat metabolism in adipose tissue decreases in old age, this will make it easier to gain weight, even if people stop eating or do the same amount of exercise as before. The researchers came to this conclusion when examining the fat cells of 54 men and women over an average period of 13 years. During this time, all participants, regardless of whether they had increased or decreased, showed a decrease in lipid turnover in the adipose tissue. In other words, the rate at which lipid (fat) is removed and stored in the fat cells was reduced. If this was not compensated for by reduced calorie intake, the people affected increased by an average of 20 percent. The researchers also examined lipid turnover in 41 bariatrically operated women and how the lipid turnover rate affected their weight four to seven years after the operation. It was shown that only women who already had a low lipid turnover rate before the operation increased their lipid turnover and achieved a higher weight loss.

New Ways To Treat Obesity?

"The results show for the first time that processes in our adipose tissue regulate changes in body weight during aging in a way that is independent of other factors," study author Professor Peter Arner from the Karolinska Institutet said in a press release. This could open up new ways of treating obesity.

How can lipid turnover in adipose tissue be accelerated?

Earlier studies had shown that more exercise is a way to accelerate lipid turnover in adipose tissue. The new research supports this notion and suggests that the long-term outcome of bariatric surgery would also improve if combined with increased physical activity. Obesity and obesity-related diseases have become a global problem. Understanding the so-called lipid dynamics and regulating fat mass in humans has never been so important, emphasizes study author Kirsty Spaldin from the Karolinska Institutet. (as)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • P. Arner, S. Bernard, L. Appelsved, K.-Y. Fu, D.P. Andersson et al .: Adipose lipid turnover and long-term changes in body weight, in Nature Medicine (query: 11.09.2019), Nature Medicine
  • New study shows why people gain weight as they get older, Karolinska Institutet (query: 11.09.2019), Karolinska Institutet

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