Most of us assume overweight senior citizens to be unhappy possibly due to their health issues. Contradicting this belief, scientists from the University of Warwick have revealed that being overweight at old age may not be essentially linked to decrease in mental well-being.
Around 10,000 individuals participated in the trial, where their health and lifestyle patterns were inspected. Quality of life was assessed by taking into account variables like mental health, social functioning, pain and general wellness.
Surprisingly, old persons with low quality of life also seemed to possess good mental health. Moreover, being overweight did not appear to reduce the well-being of older people. Those with BMI above 30 were as happy as elderly persons weighing normally.
Dr Saverio Stranges, lead author from Warwick Medical School at the University of Warwick commented, “It’s obvious that people’s physical quality of life deteriorates as they age, but what is interesting is that their mental well-being doesn’t also deteriorate – in fact it increases.”
With respect to women, lack of physical activity did not have on effect on their mental wellness. This was not the case with men, as those not exerting themselves sufficiently experienced reduced mental well-being.
Not many of us are aware of a term called jolly fat, which is probably one reason why overweight elders looked happy. Other factors like amount of sleep and socio-economic parameters also affected the results, the team added.
The report titled, ‘Cross-cultural Comparison of Correlates of Quality of Life and Health Status: The Whitehall II Study (UK) and the Western New York Health Study (US)’ is published in the European Journal of Epidemiology.