A common maxim is that "for proper weight control in all stages of life we must adjust the energy we eat with food to the amount of energy we consume with exercise," summarizes Iris de Luna, specialist in Endocrinology and Clinical Nutrition at the University Hospital Quironsalud Madrid.
Schoolchildren and teenagersAccording to De Luna, "the main obstacle to weight loss in childhood and adolescence is sedentarism. Leisure time devoted to activities that consume little energy - in general, related to technology - has increased dramatically in the last 10 years. Obesity is a major health problem, as it causes chronic diseases (diabetes mellitus, hypercholesterolemia, osteoarthritis, etc.). The more years of evolution obesity has, the more serious and with more consequences for health. For this reason, it is necessary to help the youngest to acquire habits of health that include the realization of physical exercise of regular form".
A common mistake among teenagers is not having breakfast, believing that skipping a meal loses weight. "In fact, the opposite effect occurs, the body tries to compensate for this lack of energy during the morning with a greater use of nutrients at noon. This causes a disproportionate hunger behavior and appetite for high-calorie foods in the food, establishing a hunger-satiety circuit that does not facilitate the return of nutritional balance," says the endocrinologist.
In addition, it has been shown that prolonging fasting hours reduces academic and physical performance. In schoolchildren and adolescents it is recommended to allocate 20 or 25 percent of calories for consumption in the morning, distributing it, if possible, between breakfast and lunch in the middle of the morning. School schedules tend to concentrate physical and intellectual effort in the morning, so it is essential that the energy intake is appropriate to the activity to be performed.
At the age of 20In the 1920s, "bad habits acquired during adolescence are being weighed down because the perception of one's own health is still good. There is a bad habit of eating fast food, with many calories and very few interesting nutrients, causing problems of overweight," explains Felipe Isidro, coordinator of the Study Group on Physical Exercise and Obesity of the Spanish Society for the Study of Obesity (Seedo). According to this expert, in Spain, at this age, there is quite a prevalence of overweight (up to more than 10 kg above ideal weight), and this condition will lead to obesity if not remedied.
"The social environment at these ages (studies, entry into the world of work and having a partner) means that the practice of physical exercise is not prioritized. And when you practice it's more sport, like football or paddle tennis, than exercise as such," says Isidro.
From 20 to 50 years old the main complaint of patients with excess weight is the lack of time, both for physical exercise and to plan meals, specifies De Luna.
What to do? "You have to change your lifestyle. It's not about eating less, it's about trying to eat better. In the same way, you don't have to move more, you have to do it better. In short, do it effectively," says Isidro.
Quironsalud's nutrition expert opens the age range and gives the following guidelines on recommended exercise from 20 to 50 years: "The indications will vary greatly depending on our physical condition, the presence or absence of injuries and the preferences and tastes of each person. In this sense, the key to achieving effective weight loss is regularity and a progressive increase in the intensity or duration of exercise. A false belief is to think that doing exactly the same type of exercise we are going to maintain a progressive weight loss.
De Luna details that as physical condition improves, training must be adapted to achieve the goal of body composition. "We will review the real time we have available for exercise and whether we can also do it in company or complement it with another activity on the weekend. Group activities are a good way to enjoy our free time. All of this must be accompanied by an active daily life.
Biologically, the optimal point is reached at the age of 25. From the age of 30 a "decline" begins.
At the age of 30When you turn 30 there is a concern about your health because some signs of aging begin (such as wrinkles or hair loss). Isidro mentions that "the positive thing is that people are becoming aware that you have to take care of yourself. Precisely for that reason there is less prevalence of obesity in this stage of life. On the other hand, habits that are not modified at this stage will cost a lot to modify in the future.
Nutritionally, the main advice is to move away from fast food or garbage and consume natural products instead of processed. You have to eat more protein, eating more white and lean meat (without fat), milk, blue fish and eggs.
"At 30, the loss of muscle mass begins smoothly, reducing strength," says Isidro. As an added bonus, osteopenia begins to appear in women. Hence the importance of starting physical exercise (cardiovascular, for example) leaving the sport gradually. "They have to practice exercises that work on the strength of the muscle mass, such as squats, strides, and pushes (or flexions) against the wall and the floor.
At the age of 40In the decade of the 40 years in the woman appears the menopause and the problems derived from the hormonal change that supposes. Depending on the state of each female, she will have to carry out a nutritional change, incorporating calcium into her diet. "Women with osteopenia do not assimilate calcium well because they do not have enough vitamin D3. This vitamin, in addition to being present in some foods, is found in the sun. That's why outdoor exercise is recommended. If that's not possible, start taking vitamin D supplements," summarizes Isidro.
You also need to do exercises that strengthen your bones. A good example is jumping. "The ideal is to run, to do step exercises, to jump to the combat, to do small squats with jump or strides also with jump," says this expert. One thing that is generally unknown is that "from this age the woman has to reduce the cardiovascular exercises, since its excess leads to a loss of muscle and bone mass. For example, you can do 3 or 4 days of strength exercises a week and 1 or 2 days of cardiovascular exercise.
In men, who at this age already notice the andropause due to the drop in testosterone, it is "very important to work on muscle strength, assuming 80 percent of the exercise practiced. The rest must be cardiovascular," says Isidro.
Continuing with nutrition for men and women, the member of the Seedo advises to raise a point more protein consumption. Specifically, in each decade of life it is necessary to increase between 0.2 and 0.4 grams for each kilogram of weight the protein intake. A breakfast rich in protein could be a tortilla with a whole wheat toast, instead of basing the first meal of the day on carbohydrates.
Not forgetting, as always, the consumption of whole-grain carbohydrates, fruits, vegetables and white meats.
At the age of 50"The energy needed to maintain the proper functioning of the body is progressively reduced from 50. The body composition changes and metabolic needs are reduced, being necessary to adapt the consumption of calories to energy expenditure," says the specialist Quironsalud.
At this age many men have already accumulated visceral fat in the area of the abdomen. This type of fat leads to an increase in cardiovascular risk. "The good thing is that it is the first thing that responds with a change in nutrition and physical exercise," says Isidro.
Many women already have osteoporosis. That's why it's important to strengthen strength exercises and start doing other joint mobility exercises (stretching, exercises in water and yoga and Tai Chi).
"The difficulties for weight loss in this age group are similar to other stages, although other obstacles are added for the realization of physical exercise by limitation in the mobility or by appearance of other added diseases (respiratory or cardiac pathologies)", says De Luna, adding that special emphasis must be made on preventing the loss of muscular mass (sarcopenia), that is very accelerated in periods of bedding. Early mobilization and active exercise will be essential, as well as ensuring an adjusted protein intake.
From the age of 60 or 65At this stage of life "problems can appear in chewing and swallowing. In the diets of easy mastication and in the crushed ones the contribution of carbohydrates is usually increased (potato, pasta, rice...) and to reduce the consumption of proteins (the meat, by its difficulty in the masticado; and the fish, by the risk of choking with the thorns). For this reason, dietary adaptations must be made to ensure a correct protein intake," specifies De Luna. From the age of 60 onwards, protein intake should already be at 2 grams per kg of body weight, adds Isidro.
This expert considers of vital importance "to make physical exercise because the loss of muscular mass accelerates, becoming brutal. Therefore, both men and women have to strengthen their muscles.
In women it is essential to do balance exercises, practicing Tai Chi or with vibrating platforms, to avoid falls and breakages of the hip or femur.