Why Malnutrition is a Growing Problem for the Ageing Population

Health and wellness have become a huge focus for many people throughout the world, however, there is one group of people who are often neglected. Both malnutrition and over-nutrition have become a growing problem for the ageing population – but why?

Well, this is largely due to the fact that as we grow older, our bodies change and it’s often harder to be aware of the lifestyle changes that are required to accompany these changes.

Today, we look at why health is a major concern for the ageing population and how it can be improved with a few simple adjustments.

What do Over-Nutrition and Malnutrition mean?

Over-nutrition is a term used to describe the frequent over consumption of food. Over-nutrition generally occurs with fats and carbohydrates and can become a dangerous, compounding health issue.

Malnutrition refers to the chronic depletion (or under eating) of particular nutrients. The detrimental effect on health that malnutrition poses is due to the low availability of food and its role in propagating disease, as well as problems a result of absorption issues in the gut.

Why Does This Happen As We Age?

Chronic illness and changes in body compositions are known to largely contribute to the decline in health as you age. Changes in muscle tone, function and gastric juices are all responsible for the way food is absorbed and utilised in the body and if we don’t adapt our diet, our ability to absorb these necessary nutrients may suffer.

Seeking professional nutritional advice is the best way to stay on track for the ‘golden years.’ An experienced dietitian will be able to formulate a tailored plan, that allows the client to eat and live in way that works for their bodies needs.

With all this in mind, there are a few things you can do as you age to ensure we feel our best.

Healthy Tips for the Ageing Population

  1. Make an effort to eat a balanced diet! Ensure you are covering all the necessary food groups, in particularly dairy and meat protein. Limit the amount of oil, sugar and salt in your meals (these are fine in moderation, but they add up quick!).
  2. Make sure you’re drinking enough water! 2 litres of water each day is necessary to ensure you are adequately hydrated. Staying hydrated promotes a healthy digestive system by allowing your body to rid itself of any end-products.
  3. Ensure you are being physically active! This can be difficult if you are living with chronic pain, illness or disability, but even something as simple as a daily walk or swim can be beneficial to our ageing bodies. Ideally, you should incorporate multiple types of activities into your lifestyle to promote your overall cardiovascular and muscular health.
  4. Eat foods that contain enough fibre! As we age, dietary fibre becomes more important than ever in promoting healthy bowel movements. Foods that are high in fibre include wholegrain cereals, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts.
  5. Make sure you are getting enough Calcium to minimise the risk of bone breaks and fractures! This can found in milk, yoghurt and soy products.
  6. Eat iron-rich food! As we age, we can easily develop iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies – up your intake with foods such as red meats, spinach, nuts/seeds and lentils. Vitamin B12 can be found in milk, meat and poultry, however a daily supplement can also be taken if needed.

For more diet and lifestyle related tips, please browse our website. If you’d like to know more about why malnutrition is becoming a growing problem for the ageing population or for tailored information suited to you, give us a call now!

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