Nutrition through the life span. Part 3: adults aged 65 years and over

Br J Nurs. 2009 Mar;18(5):301-2, 304-7. doi: 10.12968/bjon.2009.18.5.40542.


The UK has an ageing population, but this is not being matched by a similar increase in healthy life expectancy. The greatest challenge in the 21st century will be to improve the quality of life as ageing occurs. Health is the most important prerequisite for people to enjoy life in their older years (Brundtland, 1988). Diet is one factor that is believed to play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases associated with ageing. The third and final part of this series addressing the concept of nutrition through the lifespan seeks to educate health-care professionals as to what constitutes a healthy diet for the elderly population, and gives practical guidance as to how to try and prevent the ever-growing problem of malnutrition within this age group. It is suggested that when the older adult is hospitalized their risk of malnutrition increases. Therefore, some guidance for the use of oral nutritional supplements in this population is given. Good nutrition and physical exercise are essential for healthy ageing from both a physical and psychological perspective (NICE, 2008). Therefore a multidisciplinary life course approach to ageing is vital to minimizing its complications for quality of life and subsequent public health (Denny, 2008).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology
  • Anemia, Iron-Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Causality
  • Chronic Disease
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Malnutrition / epidemiology
  • Malnutrition / etiology
  • Malnutrition / prevention & control*
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Nutritional Status
  • Nutritional Support / methods*
  • United Kingdom / epidemiology
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control
  • Wasting Syndrome / prevention & control