Eating well is vital for people of all ages and plays an important role in maintaining health and well-being. A balanced diet provides the body with the necessary nutrients and has many health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and loss of bone density.
A combination of good nutrition and regular physical activity can play a major role in the prevention and management of several age-related conditions, including cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline, and can help to maintain and protect bones and joints in later life. However, lifestyles and appetite often change throughout the ageing process and this can have an adverse effect on the types and amounts of food older people eat.
A decrease in appetite and/or reduced ability to buy and prepare healthy foods can result in many older people consuming insufficient essential vitamins, mineral and fibre, with this potentially contributing to a decline in health status. Both malnutrition and obesity are prevalent in the older population, with malnutrition particularly common among those with frailty. It is therefore vitally important for older people to use every meal and snack as an opportunity for maximum nutrition intake and find ways to improve their diet in accordance with their personal tastes.