Oklahoma researchers looking at link between obesity, accelerated aging

OKLAHOMA CITY – It is common knowledge that being overweight puts you at greater risk for certain health conditions, but researchers say those extra pounds can also affect how you age.

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma College of Allied Health are trying to figure out the link between obesity and accelerated aging, along with ways to stop it.

“Some of these populations that are obese or pre-diabetic seemed to be aging faster, and not in terms of grey hair, but in terms of their metabolic profile,” Michael Stout, Ph.D.,  an assistant professor in the college’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, said.

The latest report by the CDC shows almost 40 percent of American adults are obese. The same holds true for nearly one in five teenagers in the country.

Excess fat can cause issues at a cellular level inside the body, and now Stout and his team are looking into the role that hormones play.

“So why are females protected with regard to one disease whereas males are not? And vice versa,” Stout pondered.

Models show that calorie-restricted diets protect against aging, while obesity accelerates it. Researchers are now trying to develop compounds that target metabolic pathways the same way calorie restriction does.

Dr. Stout’s research is currently funded by the National Institute on Aging, Reynolds Oklahoma Center on Aging, the Nathan Shock Centers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies.