Understanding muscle health, nutrition and healthy aging is especially important because for the first time in history – more people worldwide are expected to live into their sixties and beyond. Adults (50+) are particularly vulnerable to malnutrition due to inadequate intake and their body’s decreased effectiveness in processing nutrients. Older adults may actually require additional amounts of nutrients in order to sufficiently nourish their bodies. Poor eating habits and inactive lifestyles can cause muscle loss. Up to 50% of older adults have an advanced form of muscle loss, which can impact overall health and recovery. Although this sounds discouraging, you can take simple steps to reverse muscle loss and prevent negative effects. Learn about how to eat healthy, and stay strong with Abbott!
Malnutrition: A Hidden Epidemic in Older Adults
Video: Alliance for Aging Research - English Version
Video: Alliance for Aging Research - Spanish Version
Slide Presentation: Eat Healthy, Stay Strong
Includes 4 Modules: (1) Fighting Muscle Mass Loss, (2) Overview of Malnutrition, (3) Science & Good Nutrition, and (4) Community Nutrition Resources
Fighting Muscle Mass Loss
Starting at age 40, adults lose on average 8% of their muscle mass each decade, and the rate of loss increases up to 15% per decade after age 70. Source
Good News: muscle Loss can be reversed with proper nutrition and exercise
Overview of Malnutrition:
Did you know that up to 1 out of 2 older adults are at risk for malnutrition?
What is Malnutrition?
Malnutrition can be defined as the state of being poorly nourished. Malnutrition is caused by a lack of proper nutrition, which can be due to (1) not having enough to eat, (2) not eating enough of the right foods, (3) being unable to digest, absorb, or transport food properly (4) having increased nutrient needs or (5) a combination of these factors.
According to the American Society for Parental and Enteral Nutrition (ASPEN) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you may be diagnosed with malnutrition if you have 2 or more of the following characteristics:
• Insufficient food intake compared with nutrition requirements
• Weight loss over time
• Loss of muscle mass
• Loss of fat mass
• Fluid accumulation
• Measurably diminished grip strength
Malnutrition can lead to poor health outcomes – delayed wound healing, decreased immune system function, longer and more frequent stays in the hospital and increased mortality risk.
Consider talking with your physician or Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN), if you or a loved one is experiencing characteristics of malnutrition.
Science & Good Nutrition
The body requires important nutrients as you age to support overall health and muscle strength. 9 out of 10 aging adults fail to meet key nutrient intake levels recommended for a healthy and active life.
Community Nutrition Resources & Education for Older Adults:
Food insecurity among older adults remains a serious problem, and it is getting worse. The AARP Foundation has found that in low-income older adults (50+):
2 in 5 older adults have a food related hardship
1 in 5 older adults have difficulty buying nutritious foods
1 in 5 older adults find it difficult to read food labels
Community nutrition resources are available to help.
The majority of family caregivers reported that that older adult in their care does not use any community nutrition resources.
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