The combination of diet and exercise is more effective for improving the physical performance of obese people over 65 than either strategy alone, according to a small study in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"It's surprising because weight loss can worsen physical function" in the elderly, he said. "That's why weight loss is not standard treatment for elderly obese. There's no way to induce weight loss without inducing loss of muscle and bone mass. You can lose a lot of fat, but you can't spare the muscle and the bone, and you need muscle for improving strength and function."