Poor diet ups health risks for the elderly
London: Millions of older people in Britain are at risk of chronic health conditions like osteoporosis, heart disease and stroke because of a bad diet, experts have warned.
According to doctors, a health time-bomb is being stored up for many who face a future blighted by a poor quality of life simply because they are not eating the right foods.
Diet is one of the most important risk factors in the development of chronic conditions and is something we can all easily change for the better.
Yet an increasing ageing population means millions are risking an old age blighted by illnesses that could be prevented if they simply maintained a healthy, balanced diet.
In an independent research carried out by Carrie Ruxton, diets of older people were analysed for nutritional content to gauge their likely health status now and in the future.
Ruxton evaluated data from 71 previously published reports, studies and trials to establish the health risks that people aged 50 or over could be facing.
According to her, while ageing was inevitable, the goal was to age healthily, with an absence of chronic disease and a slower decline in cognitive and physical function.
She found that in too many cases older people failed to get enough vital nutrients for optimal health, in particular vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin D, folic acid, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and iodine.
Vitamin D is vital for bone health, while research suggests it can help combat other serious illnesses including cancer.
She found that 97 percent of people aged 65 and over fail to meet the recommended vitamin intake, but more than 40 percent of that age group and 47 percent of over-75s have a long-standing illness that limits their ability to perform everyday tasks.
“Those most at risk include people in their 80s and the elderly in institutions. This has led to calls for more older people to take multi-nutrient supplements. Healthy eating advice should be combined with information on the beneficial role of dietary supplements,” the Daily Express quoted Ruxton as saying.
The study has been published in the journal Nutrition & Food Science.