IV. Life Stages
Changes with age: Old Age
The elderly -- a fast-growing population (estimate: by 2050 >60 million Americans will be over age 65, and 1 million will be over 100).
Effects of aging:
- Energy needs decline.
This can lead to insufficient essential nutrient content in meals that are calorically adequate.
- 67% due to decreased physical activity
- 33% due to decreased BMR (loss of muscle mass due to inactivity)
- Vitamin, mineral absorption may change, leading to changing dietary requirements.
- Fat distribution patterns change, so skinfold thickness becomes a less accurate measure of total body fat.
- In the young fat is mostly subcutaneous.
- In the elderly it is mostly intra-abdominal and intramuscular.
Special nutritional problems are associated with aging.
- Sensory change: loss of smell, taste may make foods less appealing.
- Physical limitations can affect nutrition by affecting ease of obtaining and preparing foods.
- Loss of vision (macular degeneration, cataracts).
- Arthritis -- loss of mobility.
- Impaired mental function (Alzheimer's disease).
- Periodontal disease -- chewing may become difficult.
- Achlorhydria -- decreased HCl in the stomach may affect protein digestion, calcium absorption, vitamin B12 absorption.
- Social factors:
- Social isolation, loneliness, depression may result in inadequate diet.
- Transportation, financial problems can limit food choices.
- Drugs may interact with foods favorably or unfavorably.
- This is true for all ages.
- But the elderly typically take more drugs, so are more at risk.
Some Factors Affecting Nutrition in the Elderly
decreased physical mobility
changes in senses (small, taste, vision)
altered mental status
|INADEQUATE FOOD INTAKE|
|reduced stomach acid