The elderly population is always fastest growing part of all the industrialized nations. The nutrition needs are different. They are generally not met. The nutrition elderly is a serious subject. There are many misunderstandings about this nutrition elderly topic. Many a times it is assumed that these people might be consuming nutritional diet. But the reality is very different. The fact is that most of the elderly people do not take most nutritious food or diet as per their body requirements. The reasons for this are many. But the fact remains that diet poor in nutrition always causes lot many problems in elderly people’s lives.
After age 50 there are many metabolic and physiological changes in the body. These changes impact the nutritional needs of the elderly persons. The metabolic rate slows down and can be thirty percent down as compared to life time metabolic rate. This means that your calorie intake requirements are lowered now. You need fewer calories. The funny part is that even this lowered calorie in take is not met with in many elders. What happens if an elderly person gets calorie deficient diet?
Many a times this calorie deficient diet becomes chronic calorie deficient diet in the life of the elderly person. This leads to fatigue and depression. It is obvious that the immune system of the elderly person will get weakened. There is body composition change in elderly persons. There is decrease in lean mass tissues up to 25 %. The body fat starts increasing. This actually means that elderly person’s diet should have more protein component in it. These proteins are useful to build and maintain lean mass tissues. The high quality protein is the requirement of the elderly nutrition diet. There are many other problems at this stage in elderly persons. There are digestive difficulties. There are dental and oral problems in this age. All these factors complicate the needs of nutrition elderly. There can be restrictions in diet due to particular medication treatment. All this means there can not be generalized rule in nutrition for elders.
The physical and clinical reasons do contribute to under nutrition in elderly persons. But these are not the only reasons. There are equally more important social and economical factors which complicate the issue of nutrition elderly.
Lack of cooking skills is one reason for the under nutrition in elderly persons. There is depression, fatigue and economic fears which can be major causes for this under nutrition issue in elderly persons
Some times high quality nutritious affordable food is available. But elderly people have strange fear abut this type of food. This complicates the nutrition elderly problem still further. There will have to be multi type approach to solve nutrition elderly problems.