The psychotherapist and author Dr. David Richo once wrote, "a healthy person is not perfect but perfectible, not a done deal but a work in progress."
It turns out that's true even for people over 60 dealing with obesity.
A study published in the journal Clinical Endocrinology found that when folks ages 60 to 78 enrolled in a hospital-based weight-loss program, they lost as much — or more — weight and did it more quickly than obese people under age 60 who followed the same diet, exercise, and emotional support routines on their own.
Participants who were over 60 lost 7.3% of their body weight in around 34 months, while younger folks shed 6.9% in 41 months. The average participant had a body mass index of just over 40 (what's called morbid obesity) to begin with.
This was a hospital-based weight-loss program, similar to what many hospitals across the country offer.
If you're one of the more than 40% of older people in the U.S. who are obese, don't give up on yourself. By losing weight, you can reduce your risk for, or the severity of, obesity-related health challenges such as Type 2 diabetes, most cancers, most cardiovascular diseases, asthma, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, and chronic back pain.
No matter what your age, talk to your doctor about taking steps — literally and figuratively — to shed excess pounds through programs that help you make changes to your nutrition and activity level and provide psychological counseling and support groups.