Food and Behaviour Research

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Nutritional Considerations for Healthy Aging and Reduction in Age-Related Chronic Disease.

Shlisky J, Bloom DE, Beaudreault AR, Tucker KL, Keller HH, Freund-Levi Y, Fielding RA, Cheng FW, Jensen GL, Wu D, Meydani SN. (2017) Adv Nutr. 8(1) 17-26  doi: 10.3945/an.116.013474. Print 2017 Jan.

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A projected doubling in the global population of people aged ≥60 y by the year 2050 has major health and economic implications, especially in developing regions. Burdens of unhealthy aging associated with chronic noncommunicable and other age-related diseases may be largely preventable with lifestyle modification, including diet. However, as adults age they become at risk of "nutritional frailty," which can compromise their ability to meet nutritional requirements at a time when specific nutrient needs may be high. This review highlights the role of nutrition science in promoting healthy aging and in improving the prognosis in cases of age-related diseases. It serves to identify key knowledge gaps and implementation challenges to support adequate nutrition for healthy aging, including applicability of metrics used in body-composition and diet adequacy for older adults and mechanisms to reduce nutritional frailty and to promote diet resilience. This review also discusses management recommendations for several leading chronic conditions common in aging populations, including cognitive decline and dementia, sarcopenia, and compromised immunity to infectious disease. The role of health systems in incorporating nutrition care routinely for those aged ≥60 y and living independently and current actions to address nutritional status before hospitalization and the development of disease are discussed.