Why do people gain weight as they age? New study blames it on 'lipid turnover'

Representation of an obese man REUTERS

Maintaining weight becomes a struggle as people get older. A research has now shed light on why people gain weight as they age, even when their diet is under control.

According to researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, lipid turnover, the rate at which fat cells are removed and stored, decreases in fat tissues as body ages with time.

This process makes the body to gain weight even when it does not consume more food or increases exercise, reported the Mirror UK.

The study based on analysis of the fat cells in 54 men and women for a period of 13 years found that all the participants, irrespective of their gender, showed a decrease in the lipid turnover in their fat tissues with aging.

The participants who did not compensate for this by eating fewer calories gained weight by an average of 20 percent, the findings suggested.

The researchers also studied 41 women who underwent bariatric surgery to examine their lipid turnover change and found that only those women who had a low lipid turnover rate before surgery managed to maintain their weight loss.

"The processes in our fat tissues regulate changes in body weight with age in a way that is independent of other factors," study author Professor Peter Arner said.

He added the findings could open up new ways to treat obesity.

Previous studies have shown that more exercise can speed up lipid turnover, indicating physical activity is the key to keep weight off with age.

According to Kirsty Spalding, co-author of the study, obesity and its related diseases have become a global threat and it is very much important to understand "lipid dynamics and what regulates the size of the fat mass in humans".

According to the World Health Organisation, most of the world's population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.

At least 39 percent of adults above the age of 18 years globally were overweight, and as many as 13 percent of adults were obese, a WHO data from 2016 suggested.

Obesity is the main reason behind many noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, including osteoarthritis, and many forms of cancer, including endometrial, breast, ovarian, prostate, liver, gallbladder, kidney, and colon.

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