Importance of Nutritional Support in Older PeopleSánchez García E. · Montero Errasquín B. · Sánchez Castellano C. · Cruz-Jentoft A.J.
Servicio de Geriatría, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain
Proper nutrition is an essential part of successful aging and may delay the onset of diseases. Nutrition-related problems in older subjects have been long-time ignored; good nutritional status is an essential component of health and a relevant part of therapeutic plans of most chronic diseases. Moreover, food and nutrition are a relevant aspect of most cultures and are strongly linked with individual lifestyles. Research has proved that nutritional intervention can improve outcomes in many clinical scenarios. This is especially true for older individuals with different acute and chronic conditions and diseases, or with malnutrition. Nutritional intervention can provide sufficient energy, protein and micronutrients, maintain or improve nutritional status, reduce morbidity and increase survival. Evidence is still lacking on the impact of nutritional intervention on physical and mental function, and on quality of life, very relevant outcomes for older individuals. Nutritional screening and assessment should become part of health care of both healthy and sick older people. Nutritional counseling and intervention should be embedded in a general care plan that takes into account all aspects of an aging person. Nutritional programs that aim for high compliance should be individualized, and would have to consider every aspect of old age: beliefs, attitudes, preferences, expectations, and aspirations.
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