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Nutritional Assessment Model Needed for Older Adults

January 27, 2017

Researchers have recently published a review highlighting the role of nutrition science in promoting healthy aging and improving the prognosis in cases of age-related diseases (Advances in Nutrition. 2017;8[1]:17-26).

Julie Shlisky, (The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science, New York Academy of Sciences, New York, NY) and colleagues, say that “burdens of unhealthy aging associated with chronic noncommunicable and other age-related diseases may be largely preventable with lifestyle modification, including diet.”
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Specifically, investigators identified key knowledge gaps and implementation challenges to support adequate nutrition for healthy aging, including applicability of metrics used in body-composition and diet adequacy for older adults as well as mechanisms to reduce nutritional frailty and to promote diet resilience.

Ironically, while increasing numbers of older adults are obese, many are also susceptible to nutritional frailty and, as a result, age-related diseases, including sarcopenia, cognitive decline, and infectious disease. This review also discusses management recommendations for these and other leading chronic conditions common in aging populations.

“A nutritional assessment model that takes into consideration the effect of aging on muscle mass, weight loss and nutrient absorption is crucial to overall wellness in our elderly population,” said Gilles Bergeron, PhD, executive director at The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science, in an article. “However, nutrition recommendations are usually based on that of a typical healthy adult, and fail to consider the effect of aging on muscle mass, weight loss, and nutrient absorption and utilization.”

The review concluded that “exploring dietary resilience, defined as a conceptual model to describe material, physical, psychological and social factors that influence food purchase, preparation and consumption, is needed to better understand older adults’ access to meal quality and mealtime experience.”

—Amanda Del Signore

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