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DSM highlights ongoing role of nutrition in delivering health and economic benefits in aging populations

Kaiseraugst, CH, 20 Apr 2015 10:00 CEST

DSM is marking the fourth anniversary of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing1, with a call for the impact of optimal nutrient intake on healthy aging and the associated healthcare costs to be more widely recognized. Research suggests that more than a fifth of adults in Europe are deficient in essential micronutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D and folic acid2. DSM continues to engage in finding nutritional solutions to support healthy aging and has proposed a strategic action plan to tackle so-called ‘hidden hunger’, which has recently been published in Nutrients3. It recommends that scientists, clinicians and public health specialists work in partnership to support additional research into the health and economic benefits of micronutrient fortification and supplementation.  
Senior couple on country walk

The proportion of the global population that is aged 60 years and over is predicted to double between 2000 and 20504, yet for many the last decade of life is affected by health issues. The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing was established by the European Commission to tackle the long term health, economic and societal challenges of an aging population. It aims to add an average of two healthy life years by 20205.

There is strong science to show that micronutrients may prevent or delay the onset of several non-communicable diseases, such as the reduced risk of cardiovascular disease in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes6. Inadequate intake is proven to have an effect on health span and longevity and this impacts on long term economic productivity and stability, as well as national and global health. For example, the healthcare cost related to osteoporosis-attributed bone fractures among all US women over the age of 55 diagnosed with osteoporosis is expected to be nearly $136 billion from 2013 to 2020. It is estimated that the cost could be reduced by $15 billion if all women in the at risk group were to supplement their diet with calcium and vitamin D at the recommended daily intake7.

“Healthy aging is key if older people are to remain independent and play an integral part in society,” said Dr. Manfred Eggersdorfer, Senior Vice President, Nutrition, Science & Advocacy at DSM and Professor for Healthy Ageing at Groningen University. “Four years after launch, the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing is making good progress but more still needs to be done to translate scientific understanding into public health action. The results of mandatory fortification of vitamin D and folic acid have been very encouraging to date and such programs should be extended, to reach new populations and include other micronutrients.”

Changes in modern diets mean that more people are consuming nutrient poor food on a regular basis and DSM continues to work to raise awareness of supplementation is a safe and effective way of addressing nutritional shortfalls. The healthcare costs due to malnutrition in Europe actually exceed those related to obesity8, and it is essential that the risks associated with the undersupply of nutrients are given the same high profile attention as concerns regarding overconsumption.

Vitamins in Motion

Vitamins play an essential role for health, wellness and disease prevention throughout the lifecycle. They are key to solving our global nutritional challenges. DSM, a global leader in health and nutrition science, is leading an initiative - Vitamins in Motion - to highlight the important role of vitamins. The campaign advocates for increased access, through innovative solutions, to the essential vitamins all people need to be healthy and well-nourished. To learn more, visit

2 Roman Vinas, B.; Ribas Barba, L.; Ngo, J.; Gurinovic, M.; Novakovic, R.; Cavelaars, A.; de Groot, L.C.; van’t Veer, P.; Matthys, C.; Serra Majem, L. Projected prevalence of inadequate nutrient intakes in Europe. Ann. Nutr. Metab. 2011, 59, 84–95
3 Péter, S. ‘Selected nutrients and their implications for health and disease across the lifespan: a roadmap’ Nutrients. 2014 Dec 22;6(12):6076-94. doi: 10.3390/nu6126076
4 World Health Organization . Global Age-Friendly Cities. World Health Organisation; Geneva, Switzerland: 2007. pp. 1–76
5 Lagiewka K. European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing: Triggers of setting the headline target of 2 additional healthy life years at birth at EU average by 2020. Arch. Public. Health. 2012;70 doi: 10.1186/0778-7367-70-23
6 Levy AP, Hochberg I, Jablonski K, Resnick HE, Lee ET, et al. (2002) Haptoglobin phenotype is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease in individuals with diabetes: the strong heart study. J Am Coll Cardiol 40: 1984-1990
7 Shanahan C., de Lorimier R. Smart Prevention—Health Care Cost Savings Resulting from the Targeted Use of Dietary Supplements. Frost & Sullivan; Mountain View, CA, USA: 2013. pp. 1–125
8 Medical Nutrition International Industry