Talking Nutrition Editors
Talking Nutrition speaks to Dr. Peter Van Dael, SVP Nutrition Science and Advocacy at DSM, about the role of nutrition in reducing the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in aging populations and the role DSM’s medical nutrition solutions can play.
Average life expectancy is generally on the rise; between 2000 and 2016 it increased by five and a half years and in many countries people are now living beyond 80 years of age.1 This growing aging population has brought with it a number of challenges for healthcare systems and policy makers.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified unhealthy diets as one of the key factors for improving health and quality of life for aging populations. However, the majority of public health policies are currently focused on addressing unhealthy diets, rather than optimizing nutrient intake.
Calcium, vitamins D and E, magnesium, potassium, protein, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids and fibers are amongst the most critical nutritents for healthy aging. However, the physical, dietary and physiological changes that occur as individuals age mean that they can have difficulties swallowing and digestive problems, which can cause their nutritional status to decline.
A growing number of studies have indicated that deﬁciencies in these essential nutrients in older adults are related to increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular diseases and neurological disorders. Supporting healthy aging by preventing NCDs is a major priority for agencies such as WHO and the United Nations.2
A recent study, published in Nutrients outlines how addressing these shortfalls can therefore contribute to improved health and quality of life for older adults and patients. DSM’s medical nutrition solutions address the nutritional and physiological needs of the aging population to increase nutrient intake, improve quality of life and reduce the burden of healthcare costs. To help address the rising burden of NCDs, DSM supports public health authorities in optimizing essential nutrient requirements as an integral part of their strategies.