The Older Woman

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Maintaining #Weight Loss is as Important as Losing it for #Postmenopusal women

New research has shown that gaining weight back after intentional weight loss is associated with negative long-term effects on some cardiometabolic (CM) risk factors in postmenopausal women.

Researchers wanted to look at how weight regain affects health risk in postmenopusal women, specifically on CM factors which include blood pressure, HDL and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose and insulin. Results showed that all CM risk factors improved with weight loss, but most regressed back to their baseline values 12 months later, especially for women who were classified as ‘regainers. For women who had regained weight in the year after their weight loss, several risk factors were actually worse than before they lost the weight.

The researchers evaluated 112 obese, postmenopausal women averaging 58 years of age, through a five-month weight loss intervention and a subsequent 12 month non-intervention period. Body weight/composition and CM risk factors were analysed before and after the weight loss intervention and at six and 12 months after the intervention. During the intervention, women lost, an average of 25 pounds (a significant amount), and 80 women returned for at least one followup measurement. Weight regain status was based on whether a participant regained at least four pounds during the follow-up period. Two-thirds of the women fell into this category and, on average, regained approximately 70 percent of lost weight. Further, it was found that when postmenopausal women lost weight and gained it back, they regained it mostly in the form of fat, rather than muscle.

The research showed that for postmenopausal women, even partial weight regain following intentional weight loss was associated with increased cardiometabolic risk. Conversely, maintenance of or continued weight loss is associated with sustained improvement in the cardiometabolic profile. So for overweight, older women is to approach weight loss as a permanent lifestyle change, with weight maintenance just as important as weight loss.

This work was supported by the NIH (R01-AG/DK20583, R01-HL093713 and F32-AG039186), Wake Forest University Claude D Pepper Older Americans Independence Center (P30- AG21332), and Wake Forest University General Clinical Research Center (M01-RR07122). Co-authors are: Barbara Nicklas, Ph.D., and Mary F. Lyles, M.D., of Wake Forest Baptist.Journal of Gerontology: Medical sciences

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Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

Eating more fruit and veg and being more #active really does help older #women live longer

Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Physical Activity, and Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Women

A recent study was undertaken to examine the relationship between fruit and vegetable intake, physical activity, and all-cause mortality in older women. The study was carried out in Baltimore, Maryland on 713 women aged 70 to 79 participating in the Women’s Health and Aging Studies.  The women were followed for 5 years

Total serum carotenoids was measured which is a marker of fruit and vegetable intake, and physical activity were measured at baseline. Physical activity was measured according to kilocalorie expenditure.

Results showed that physical activity improved survival and the most active women were more likely to survive than the least physically active women.  Higher measures of carotenoids improved survival with women in the highest third of intake more likely to survive those in the lowest third.

The researchers concluded that the combination of low total serum carotenoids and low physical activity, both modifiable risk factors, strongly predicted earlier mortality. These findings provide preliminary support that higher fruit and vegetable intake and exercise improve survival.


Posted: 06/13/2012; in Nicklett et al., J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012;60(5):862-868

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Friday, April 6th, 2012

A healthy weeks menu for the #older woman

A Healthy Weeks Menu for the Older Person (menopause and after!)


It is sometimes hard to maintain an interest in food and mealtimes. To overcome this:

•Try to eat different foods each day

•Maintain an interest in cooking and experiment with new recipes

•Share meals with family and friends

•Try to make each mealtime an important occasion, even if it’s only beans on toast!


To help you get started we have devised a week s plan that is tasty, healthy and won’t make you gain extra weight.

The ground rules:

•Wherever possible use the wholegrain version of foods, e.g. wholemeal bread, brown rice, wholemeal pasta.

•You can have butter, spread or low fat spread on your toast, bread, teacakes, crackers or in sandwiches, but use sparingly.

•If you cannot shop regularly for fresh vegetables or find preparing them is a chore, than frozen are just as nutritious

•Tea and coffee can be drunk throughout the day but see note at end for dangers of drinking these to excess. Try herbal teas or the decaffeinated versions of some of these caffeine containing drinks.




Half a grapefruit

Boiled egg

Toast with yeast spread

Toast with jam or marmalade


Ham and salad sandwich

Small pot of yoghurt


Evening meal

Grilled chop: 120-180g (4-6oz) raw weight is fine per person. Trim off all the fat before eating

Potatoes boiled in their skins

Broccoli and Carrots Baked apple

Custard sweetened made with lower fat milk



Glass of unsweetened fruit juice

Bowl of cereal (avoid sugar coated ones) e.g. Weetabix, Shreddies, Muesli

Slice of toast marmalade /jam/honey


Sardines on Toast (one or two slices according to appetite)

Tomato and cucumber

Small chocolate wafer biscuit


Evening Meal

Shepherds pie: allow 120g (4 oz) of mince/quorn mince (for lowwer fat version) per person, fry the mince and drain off the fat before using.

Mash the potatoes with milk, a little pepper.

Peas and sweetcorn

Tinned fruit with 1 scoop of ice-cream  or low fat custard




Slice of melon

1 crumpet topped with scrambled egg.

1 crumpet with small amount of honey


Baked potato with filling of tuna mixed with reduced fat mayonnaise. As the filling is moist, there is no need to use extra butter in the potato. Salad with low fat dressing


 Evening meal

Stir-fry: Use a base of onions and add whatever vegetables you have in your store, but peppers, mushrooms and beansprouts go well. Add some lean bacon or strips/tofu/ quorn pieces of chicken breast.




Unsweetened fruit juice

Porridge made with lower fat milk and fruit and  little honey to sweeten


Beans on toast: 1-2 slices depending on appetite. There is no need to ‘butter’ the toast first, as the topping is moist.

Small slice of plain or fruit cake

Evening meal

Cauliflower or Macaroni cheese: Half a pint of milk is sufficient for two people. Make the white sauce by thickening the milk with cornflour, so that there is no need to use fat. Use strong cheddar cheese so that you don’t have to use so much.

Crusty bread

Mousse or sorbet



Small bowl of unsweetened prunes/canned in fruit juice

Fresh sliced/canned plum tomatoes on toast


Egg and cress sandwiches. (If using mayonnaise then used the reduced fat version)

Small carton of yoghurt or fromage frais

Evening meal

Pasta with tomato sauce: As with the stir fry, start with an onion fried in a little olive or sunflower oil, then add a tin of chopped tomatoes and whatever else takes your fancy! Tuna, cooked prawns, quorn or chicken can also be added.

Top with a little grated cheddar or Parmesan cheese.

Banana custard, made with lower fat milk



Unsweetened fruit juice

Grilled bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes with a poached egg

Toast with lower fat spread


Home made soup: Lightly fry some onions and add vegetables of your choice, or add cooked left over vegetables. Add stock and blend.

Bread roll or crackers

Apple with small cube of cheese

Evening meal

6oz lean grilled steak

Baked potato

Salad with lower fat dressing

Fresh fruit salad with natural fromage frais




Unsweetened fruit juice

Grilled kippers Grilled tomatoes

Toast with low fat spread

 Sunday Dinner

Lean Roast Meat: Make sure that you cook the meat on a trivet so that all the fat drains away. Do not use the meat juices to make the gravy, but you may use the vegetable water and lower salt gravy granules

Roast potatoes cooked in a small mount of vegetable oil

Cabbage, Carrots

Milk pudding, such as rice pudding, made with lower fat milk


Cold meat, pickles and salad

Toasted tea cake


Notes · If you are particularly hungry or extra active, then you may need some extra snacks between meals. Below are some healthy snack ideas: •A bowl of unsweetened cereal (with low fat milk).

•A sandwich (with low fat filling).


•A ‘low calorie’/’diet’ yoghurt or fromage frais.

•A plain biscuit, e.g. Digestive, oatcake, semi-sweet biscuits e.g. Rich Tea or Marie.

•Any of the following with a scraping of either low-fat spread or jam/honey: Crispbreads or crackers with hummus, peanut butter or other topping.

•Bread, crumpets or teacakes.

•Plain scones or buns.

•Malt loaf


•If you have your evening meal early in the evening or have difficulty getting to sleep at night, then a milky drink at bedtime, such as a lower fat malted milk or chocolate drink may aid sleep.

•Try and include a pint of semi-skimmed milk in you diet every day to maintain bone health

. A third of a pint of milk can be substituted for a piece of cheese the size of a small matchbox or a small pot of yoghurt.

•If you are over 65, you should take a supplement daily of Vitamin D

. •Drinking plenty is important to help avoid constipation and dehydration. Aim to drink at least 6-8 cups of fluid (fruit juice, squash, water or tea) each day.

•Drinking too much tea and coffee and other caffeinated beverages may cause anxiousness and sleeplessness.  . It is therefore advisable not to drink more than 10 cups of all caffeinated beverages each day (e.g. 2 cans of coke, 5 cups of tea and 3 cups of coffee would be the upper limit for the day)

If you drink remember to stick to less than 14 units a week and try and have at least 2 alcohol free days a week

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