Nutrition shortfalls in the elderly

A report commissioned by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain (PAGB) and the Health Supplements Information Service (HSIS) has highlighted the health challenges associated with poor nutrition that are undermining the well-being of thousands of older adults.

The Hidden Health Challenges report sets out dietary advice and strategies to address the barriers to healthy ageing. A woman who was 65 in 2011 can expect to spend more than 18 years — more than a fifth of her life — in frail health. A man of the same age faces 15 years in poor health.

The report reveals that:

  • More than half the older adults admitted to hospital in the UK are malnourished
  • Dietary deficits of vitamin D, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc and copper are common
  • Intakes of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids fall short of recommended targets
  • Malnutrition costs the UK economy £5bn a year in direct healthcare costs and £13bn in associated health and social care.

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