With Americans in the midst of battling the bulge, it is often overlooked that many senior citizens are fighting a different weight battle: unintentional weight loss. Many dangerous conditions factor into why many elderly people are losing weight.
Elderly individuals who are depressed are likely to suffer from unintentional weight loss, particularly those who are in dependent living situations.
Senior citizens who live on a low budget and don’t have access to food programs often fear that there will not be enough to eat. In rationing their daily intake, many vital nutrients are absent, leading to malnutrition and weight loss.
The American Dietetic Association reported that in 2001, 10.1 percent of older Americans were poverty stricken. Poverty is associated with poor health and low body mass index.
Senior citizens, particularly over the age of 85, are more likely to suffer from dehydration. This can be due to swallowing impairments caused by disease. It also may be caused by excessive urination due to fear of incontinence.
Various emotional and physical factors play into why older individuals consume little to no nutritious food. This pattern results in inadequate consumption of calories and essential vitamins and minerals, leading to muscle wasting and weight loss.