The dietary-challenges-facing-the elderly-people-louis-bonduelle-foundation


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Who are today’s elderly? What impact does diet have on their health? How are vegetables a nutritional asset for elderly people? What are the obstacles to a balanced diet?

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The dietary-challenges-facing-the elderly-people-louis-bonduelle-foundation

  1. 1. Press ReleaseMarch 2012 What are the dietary challenges facing the elderly?Who are today’s elderly? What impact does diet have on their health? How arevegetables a nutritional asset for elderly people? What are the obstacles to abalanced diet?Over the decades to come, elderly people will continue to grow in number andcontinue to age. Our society must succeed in the challenge of healthy ageing. How?By helping elderly people to keep active and mobile for as long as possible,particularly through nutrition.With published monographs on children and television and the tyranny of dieting in2010, as well as appetite regulation and eating disorders in 2011, the Louis BonduelleFoundation is continuing its exploration of dietary behaviour and is now taking stock ofscientific knowledge relating to nutrition and elderly people.The following is a summary of the monograph “The Nutritional Challenges for an Ageing Population”.Complete monograph available upon request.Required source citation: Louis Bonduelle FoundationPress ContactMagali DelmasVivactis Public Relations ― Tel.: +33 (0)1 46 67 63 44 ― e-mail:
  2. 2. A Major ChallengeAccording to the European Union census of 2011, there were 96 million people aged 50 to 64(or 19.1% of the total population), 64 million people aged 65 to 79 (or 12.7%) and 24 millionpeople over age 80 (or 4.7%). Various projections indicate that the ageing population willcontinue to grow over the decades to come. Keeping elderly people active and mobile,thereby enabling them to remain healthy and independent for as long as possible, is a majorchallenge for society — a challenge in which nutrition plays a crucial role.What is the current nutritional situation of the elderly population?Ironically, elderly people tend to reduce their food intake even though their nutritional needsincrease with age. What accounts for this reduction in food intake? The monograph highlightsseveral factors such as reduced financial resources, solitary living and physiological changes(loss of taste, loss of appetite, dry mouth). Together, all the obstacles to food intake contributeto a vulnerable nutritional situation characterized by deficiencies, as observed in variousstudies.Lastly, the environment, whether home or institutional, also affects diet. At home, inadequateenergy intake, notably related to insufficient consumption of proteins, is generally observed. Ininstitutions for the elderly, diet is a key focus of patient care, and the battle againstmalnutrition is a priority. ZOOMING IN ON MALNUTRITION5 to 10% of elderly people living at home and 30% of those in institutions are believed to suffer from malnutrition resulting from inadequate food intake and increased needs and/or losses. Because malnutrition is often accompanied by weight loss and changes in essential bodily functions, its consequences can be very serious (complications of health conditions, increased mortality). However, there are strategies for both detecting and treating malnutrition, as thoroughly detailed in the monograph.A closer look at the dietary role of vegetablesEating vegetables is guaranteed to promote good health at any age. Rich in water, whichaccounts for 95% of their weight, vegetables protect against dehydration, which is especiallycommon among elderly people. They are also beneficial due to their high nutritional density.Eating vegetables is the best way to achieve Reference Nutrient Intakes (RNI), as they containseveral essential nutrients, such as Vitamin C.It is important to remember to enjoy our meals: the variety of their colours, flavours, texturesand preparation methods all add to the pleasure of eating.
  3. 3. Keeping vegetables central to diets for the elderly means promoting the health of the elderly.Various studies have emphasized the protective effects of vegetables on: • certain types of cancer, • heart disease, particularly blood pressure – high blood pressure is one of the major risk factors of cardiovascular disease, • eye diseases such as cataracts and AMD (age-related macular degeneration) through carotenoids and xanthophylls, • the bones, as a number of vegetables (spinach, celery, chervil, etc.) contain high quantities of calcium, • digestive activity, by providing fibre.What is the Louis Bonduelle Foundation? Founded in October 2004, the Louis Bonduelle Foundation aims to help bring about lasting improvements in dietary behaviour by making vegetables and their benefits the focus of its initiatives. The Foundation works internationally with a focus on long-term change and has demonstrated a desire to move beyond generic words and intentions by providing everyone with effective, practicaland often innovative ways of incorporating vegetables into their diets.Its programme focuses on three main areas:- providing information and raising awareness,- supporting and fostering research,- taking action on the ground.“At the Louis Bonduelle Foundation, we believe that alongside the need to communicateinformation to each individual, guidance and support are essential in order to change dietarybehaviour”, says Christophe Bonduelle, President of the Louis Bonduelle Foundation.More information, news and recipes at: