Diet and Nutrition

Good eating habits and healthy foods are key to staying healthier for longer

Good nutrition plays a significant role in determining the well-being of older people, and in delaying and reducing the risk of contracting disease. Eating too few fruits and vegetables is responsible for close to three million deaths worldwide every year. In addition, dietary fat seems to be associated with various cancers, and nutritionally unbalanced diets, which are often associated with diabetes, can play a significant role in increasing the risks of developing coronary heart disease.

Many of the diseases suffered by older persons are a result of dietary factors, some of which have been in operation since infancy. Food preferences tend to be formed in childhood, and children who eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables are likely to continue eating such a diet into adulthood. Parents who eat too much processed food with high levels of salt, sugar and fat tend to pass those habits onto their own children.

It is never too late to change dietary habits, though it is better to start eating a balanced diet early on in the life-course, though it should be noted that nutritional requirements change as a body ages, with calorific needs decreasing and nutritional needs increasing. One issue that needs to be tackled is the high price of foods rich in micronutrients, which discourages their consumption.