By: Talking Nutrition Editors
UNIDOP is a public health day created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about the challenges and opportunities presented by an aging population. This year’s theme, ‘Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations’, emphasizes the need to ensure that all individuals, including the elderly, fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms as outlined in the declaration.
In every corner of the world, population aging is occurring at an unprecedented rate. In 2021, 761 million people worldwide were aged 65 years or older, a figure which is predicted to more than double by 2050, reaching 1.6 billion.i While a longer life opens up more opportunities for people to pursue new activities and contribute to society, the quality of these later years depends largely on one factor – health. On this year’s UNIDOP, October 1st, we are spotlighting solutions to empower the aging population to lead active and healthy lives.
The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2021-2030 as the Decade of Healthy Aging. This marks an era led by the WHO to unite governments, civil societies, international agencies, academia, media and the private sector to catalyze action for longer and healthier lives. This means providing age-friendly environments across the globe and establishing long-term care to improve the lives of older people, their families and the communities in which they live.
The Decade of Healthy Aging aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 3 – good health and wellbeing – which we have woven into the heart of our company ethos. At dsm-firmenich, we view healthy aging as an ongoing process of maintaining and improving physical and mental health, independence and quality of life throughout one's life journey. Our Health, Nutrition and Care (HNC) business is dedicated to bringing progress to life by promoting good health and wellbeing for all.
Malnutrition is increasingly prevalent among the elderly, often due to impaired taste and smell – which impacts appetite – limited bioavailability of nutrients or reduced mobility, which limits their ability to go food shopping and cook meals. Suboptimal nutrition and reduced mobility contribute to the risk of developing frailty and non-communicable diseases, hindering older adults’ quality of life.ii However, studies have demonstrated that a healthy diet and adequate nutrient intake is one modifiable factor that can help mitigate these risks and promote healthy aging.iii,iv One study also emphasized the importance of achieving optimal nutrition status before reaching an elderly age, to help manage the onset of age-related malnutrition.
By enabling the development of tailored medical nutrition solutions that help to overcome common barriers to nutritional intake in the elderly, along with dietary supplement solutions, we enable optimal nutritional care for older adults, supporting their health and independence. Our insight-led medical nutrition portfolio includes the following concepts:
The world’s ever-growing elderly population is leading to a rise in prevalence of ‘diseases of aging’, like sarcopenia. This is a progressive and generalized skeletal muscle disorder that involves the accelerated loss of muscle mass and function contributing to gradual frailty, reduced mobility and increased falls and fractures. Preserving muscle health and decreasing the risk of muscle loss is therefore becoming increasingly relevant. Our concept to support mobility issues uses a combination of ingredients, including key proteins and amino acids, vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA).
Poor cognition can result from inadequate nutrition, and at the same time affect a person's nutritional status, as well as their mobility, independence and quality of life. Our medical nutrition concept for brain health supports the growing number of elderly people presenting with cognitive decline with a combination of key ingredients, including EPA and DHA, as well as vitamins B, E, D and lutein.
The role of immunity in protecting people’s health is especially important in elderly individuals who are more vulnerable to pathogens and viruses. Medical nutrition products targeted towards immune health are one way in which immunity can be optimized to support individuals in staying healthier for longer. Our immunity concept comprises important ingredients that support immune function, including vitamin C, D, E, zinc, selenium, and EPA and DHA.
As part of our commitment to serving the nutritional needs of the aging population, we are always researching better ways to support brain health, mobility, immunity and overall wellbeing. With our comprehensive range of high-quality ingredients, expert services and customized solutions, we strive to create what is essential for life, desirable for consumers and sustainable for the planet.
29 September 2023
4 min read
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