The role of nutrition in reducing the risk of NCDs in aging populations

NEW SCIENCE 04/04/2019

2min read

Talking Nutrition Editors

Supporting healthy aging

  • Life expectancy has increased dramatically on a global scale, but our later years are not always healthy. This results in significant consequences on quality of life for the world’s aging population.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers nutrition a key factor for improving health and quality of life amongst older adults and patients. 
  • DSM’s medical nutrition solutions are designed to address the nutritional and physiological needs of the elderly, helping to reduce the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) later in life.

Ask the expert: Reducing the risk of NCDs through nutrition

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.

The health and social impact of an aging population

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.

Addressing nutritional requirements

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.

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References
  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Global Health Observatory (GHO) Data, Life Expectancy. Available online: http://www.who.int/gho/mortality_burden_disease/life_tables/situation_trends/en/(accessed on 20 September 2018). 
  2. World Health Organization (WHO). Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013–2020. 2018. Available online: https://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd-action-plan/en/ (accessed on 3 January 2019)
Tags: MEDICAL NUTRITIONNEW SCIENCEINNOVATIONARTICLEESSENTIALS FOR HEALTHY AGINGR&D

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