Why Older People Need Healthy Food Habit

Old People Food Habits and the Consequences

Food habits of older people do not always coincide with their food needs. Several surveys of the food choices of older people have been made in different localities; all report much the same trend. Unfortunately, many adults in late middle age, or older, are misled in their search for “eternal youth” or relief from their aches and pains. They hear and believe the TV and Internet promotions of various panaceas – elixirs or multivitamin and mineral mixtures claimed to be remedied for all sorts of ills. They read and believe the fad health books, especially those that have been flooding the book market during the past decade. It is well-known that food and nutrition quackery thrives in areas where middle income retired people congregate.

Food Requirements For Old Age

The dietary requirements of later life are influenced by a number of factors such as general health; a degree of physical activity; changes inability to chew, digest, and absorb food; efficiency in the use of nutrients by the tissues; alteration in the endocrine system; emotional state; and mental health. The nutrient and calorie allowances that maintain one person in optimum health may be inadequate or more than adequate to meet the needs of another, apparently similar, individuals.

When Calories Need to be Reduced The food sources of reduced calories must be chosen with care to include all essentials factors, in higher proportion than that needed in former years because the total food consumed is less. There is an obvious need for foods, which carry a full quota of proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It is essential to reduce the consumption of empty calories – sugar, rich desserts, cakes, candies, fats, and alcohol.

Reduction in total calories involves the most difficult task of alteration of food habits. For the majority of persons, habit is perhaps one of the greatest obstacles in the path to an optimal diet. The longer the habits are continued, the more fixed they become. The food habits of older people are apt to be so fixed that it is difficult to change them unless the way is made easy.


According to a study, retired women are more discipline in maintaining a healthy food habit than who are continuously employed. At follow-up, retired women had good food habits than employed women after correcting for baseline food routine. Among men, food habits are not related to retirement.

When Calories Need to be Increased – Quite another problem exists for the really elderly, or the disabled and shut-in who may not enough food to meet energy or other nutritional requirements. If they live alone or have poor cooking facilities, they may have little incentives or opportunity to market and cook for themselves. Sometimes appetite fails to tempt the very elderly to eat enough food or the right kind of food. The reduced calories in such cases seldom carry enough of the essential nutrients.

Sometimes appetite fails to tempt the very elderly to eat enough food or the right kind of food. The reduced calories in such cases seldom carry enough of the essential nutrients.

Protein is the most important building block for older people

Apparently, protein needs are not reduced appreciably with age, and yet many older people eat less protein than they did when younger. This is most likely to happen where marketing is difficult, cooking facilities are poor, or the money for food is limited. It can also happen among those with a  better economic status when denture troubles, lack of appetite, or too little energy prevent the preparing or the eating of meats or other protein foods.

The requirement of certain amino acids may even be increased to meet changes in body function with age. The methionine and lysine requirements of six male subjects 50 to 70 years of age to substantially greater than that of younger males.

Special attention may need to be given to meeting the protein requirements of the older person if he is sharing in the family meals planned to meet the higher caloric food habits of younger members of the family. An extra glass of skim milk at meals or between meals may be consumed to supplement smaller servings of meat, fish, or other high protein main dishes. If the person lives alone, milk, cheese and eggs are often used as alternates for meat, fish, or poultry because of ease of preparation. Adequate calories tend to spare protein so that the total food intake should always be taken into account.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *