Older adults have been advised to exercise and lose weight in order to make the most of their mobility.
Expatriate health insurance customers might be keen to take up the advice after a study has suggested that mobility could be improved by as much as 20 per cent.
Published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the research looked at 288 participants over five years.
The scientists found that, counter to common belief, it can be beneficial for older adults to lose weight.
The most dramatic improvement in mobility was seen among participants who combined an increase in physical activity with the weight loss.
These people showed an average improvement of five per cent, although those who began with very limited mobility showed improvements of up to 20 per cent.
Jack Rejeski, preofessor of health and exercise science, commented: "To improve mobility, physical activity has to be coupled with weight loss.
"This is one of the first large studies to show that weight loss improves the functional health of older people with cardiovascular disease."