Nutrition and older people: Special considerations relating to nutrition and ageing

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Provided that individual elderly people stay in good health, their dietary intakes are not likely to be that much different from those of younger age. Older people are at risk of malnutrition due to reduced activity and food intake, body composition changes, physical and mental illness, disability and lack of mobility. Most 'pathological' factors associated with ageing such as social, psychological, physical and medical factors, which may predispose to malnutrition are responsive to treatment. Older people should be advised to eat a balanced diet containing a variety of nutrient-dense foods, more fruits, vegetables and grains, foods containing adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D. This may need to be monitored in some individuals. Elderly people should be encouraged to lead an active life, especially after episodes of intercurrent illness All older people accessing the health services should be nutritionally screened using the MUST tool. Dietetic advice is an integral part of the management of older people in hospital. It should be sought early to assess the most appropriate method of meeting individual nutritional requirements in those patients at risk, and to provide advice for nursing and medical staff, catering and other health professionals involved. Dietary treatment strategies should be tailored to meet the needs and preferences of individual patients. They should also be flexible, responsive and reviewed on a regular basis to maintain enthusiasm and commitment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)411-416
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Medicine, Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of London
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Chronic disease
  • Clinical outcome
  • Elderly patients
  • Macronutrients
  • Micronutrients
  • Nutritional support
  • Older people
  • Undernutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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