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Senior Malnutrition Epidemic

Senior Malnutrition

By Thomas Cifelli, OWC Staff   (reviewed by Dr. Rudderham)

According to experts, malnutrition will affect one in six consumers globally by the year 2015.   Alarmingly,  older adults seem to be seriously malnourished … resulting in illness, early disease onset and increased medical care requirements.   Some interesting findings on older adults include:

  • Over 50% of older adults are believed to eat less protein than is recommended;
  • More than 55% do not meet calcium requirements;
  • 90% are vitamin D deficient; and
  • 30% have inadequate zinc, selenium and vitamin B12 intake.

Large commercial food product manufacturers, particularly the European divisions who lead in developing improved functional foods over their US counterparts, are introducing new arrays of fortified products targeting seniors.

These new formulated products contain more nutritional value to help seniors regain strength and energy after an illness or surgery. These new more heavily nutrient fortified products will also help maintain functional abilities by supporting physical strength and cognitive health.

Unfortunately this is long overdue and only the result of seniors gaining increased knowledge about the value of supplementation from primarily online resources.

In Europe, there is a food classification “Food for Special Medical Purposes” or FSMP. Their is no US counterpart at this time. FSMP fortified products are debuting in Austria, Belgium, Finland, Italy, Netherlands and Sweden. No U.S. launch is apparently planned at this time.

Fortunately, OWC’s store has a wide array of excellent nutrient supplement products and fortified foods good for seniors and the general population today.

OWC recommends older adults especially take a two-pronged approach to becoming more proactive in maintaining vibrant health and quality of life:

  1. Find a nutrition expert health professional to do malnutrition screening tests. Blood work and BIA tests are widely available for starters. (A) These assessment tools help healthcare professionals assess the nutritional status of older persons in as little as four minutes in the case of BIA tests. (B) You can then be categorized as malnourished, at risk of malnutrition or well nourished, thus helping to identify those who would benefit from nutrition intervention such as oral nutritional supplementation and in more severe cases even IV therapy to quickly address deficiencies while you are coached on diet and other lifestyle changes.
  2. Find a trusted source of the best supplements and functional foods and start being more proactive in giving your body what it needs to remain healthy beyond the general population.

Despite the fact that up to 40% of hospitalized patients and 50% of hip fracture patients are malnourished, the issue of malnutrition in the elderly is not widely appreciated. Even traditionally trained healthcare professionals lack the education and awareness of the seriousness of this nutritional component issue.

Key signs and symptoms of poor nutritional status include the loss of muscle mass, weight loss and fatigue. In turn, the malnourished are more vulnerable to falls and fractures, recover more slowly from surgery and have an increased risk of influenza and pneumonia and other illnesses.

A medical event such as a fracture, infection or illness, in combination with poor nutrition, accelerates the downward spiral toward dependence on others and drugs and surgery. “The consequences of poor nutritional status are not only detrimental to the individual patients but also to society since they increase the cost of care and social burden. The need to screen the older population is clear,” a Richard Laube, CEO of Nestle Nutrition in Europe stated.

CEO Laube adds, “The older population is growing faster than any other segment. Older people are generally vulnerable to malnutrition and can slip into a spiral of muscle and weight loss resulting in fatigue and loss of independence. Targeted nutrition can make a big difference and screening for malnutrition is vital to getting a grip on the issue as a whole.”

May 10, 2010 © Online Wellness Community, Inc., All Rights Reserved.

This entry was posted in Aging, Antiaging, Article, Diet and Nutrition
, Featured, Food, Health News, Healthy Aging, Men's Health, Seniors, Super Seniors
, Wellness for Men
, Wellness for Women, Women's Health and tagged ,

One Comment

  1. Posted May 15, 2010 at 21:29 | Permalink

    Eat right and Lift weights to keep dem bones strong…

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