Obesity and Overweight


Obesity in Older AdultsThe Gerontological Society of America KAER Toolkit for the Management of Obesity in Older Adults is intended to support primary care teams who seek to implement a comprehensive approach to help older adults with overweight and obesity recognize and care for their condition.

It includes practical approaches, educational resources, and validated clinical tools that teams can integrate into their workflows.

The toolkit was developed by GSA and supported by Novo Nordisk.

GSA Publications

Obesity in Older AdultsOverweight. Obesity. Severe obesity. What do these terms mean, and how are people diagnosed with these conditions? What causes weight gain, and why it the situation worsening so quickly?

People’s body sizes have increased greatly over the past four decades. In 2017 and 2018, among Americans aged 60 years or older, 42.2 percent of men and 43.3 percent of women had obesity. This GSA publication reviews the evaluation, consequences, and clinical management of obesity and overweight in older adults.

Support for this publication was provided by Novo Nordisk.

Momentum Discussions

Obesity in older adults impacts morbidity and mortality, quality of life and increases the risk of institutionalization. Weight loss interventions can effectively lead to improved physical function. Diet-alone interventions can detrimentally impact muscle and bone physiology and without interventions to affect these elements, can lead to adverse outcomes. Understanding social and nutritional issues facing older adults is essential. This session will address the physiological changes that put older adults at risk for obesity and the specific impact of obesity on chronic health conditions, including COVID-19. The panelists will also discuss the impact of stigma associated with obesity and the role of an interprofessional team in ensuring the safety of older persons with obesity.


  • John A. Batsis, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Medicine and Gillings School of Global Public Health


  • Shenbagam Dewar, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan
  • Ted Kyle, ConscienHealth
  • Kathryn N. Porter Starr, Duke University School of Medicine and Durham VA Medical Center

Support for this Momentum Discussion was provided by Novo Nordisk.


The vexing problem of the increasing weight of Americans has grown to epidemic proportions in recent decades. As millions of people enter older adulthood, they bring with them added pounds and the challenges of excessive body fat. Now recognized as a chronic medical condition, obesity is associated with serious health problems that increase morbidity and mortality, stigmatization at work and in social settings, decreased physical function, lower health-related quality of life, and increased direct and indirect health care costs. When combined with common aging-related challenges, obesity can create complex clinical situations without easy solutions.

In this episode, Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford (Obesity Medicine Physician Scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School) speaks with Dr. Tamara A. Baker (Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), addressing the issue of obesity and specifically how the prevalence of obesity is different in communities of color versus majority communities in the United States. Dr. Stanford reviews the different factors that contribute to the high burden of obesity in racial and ethnic minority populations, why there appears to be worsened outcomes in patients who have obesity and COVID-19, and strategies that can be utilized to address excess weight in communities with high prevalence of obesity, especially in older adults.  The interview closes out with a review of barriers to receiving treatment and an overview of legislation has been proposed to help address the epidemic of obesity in our communities.


  • Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP, FAHA, FTOS, Obesity Medicine Physician Scientist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School


  • Tamara A. Baker, PhD, FGSA, Professor, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Support for this podcast was provided by Novo Nordisk. The content was developed by The Gerontological Society of America.

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