Good nutrition also important at an advanced age, an interview with Professor Lisette de Groot
What is good nutrition for elderly people? And also, do specific nutrients play a role in the ageing process? The FrieslandCampina Institute interviewed Lisette de Groot, Professor of Nutrition and Ageing at Wageningen University.
Factors that determine bone mass and strength
Heredity is the most important factor for strong bones. Genes determine the variation in peak bone mass, the maximum bone density, for 60-80%. Nutrition and exercise also play important roles in the development of the bones while growing (children) and in the maintenance phase of the bone tissues (adults, elderly).
Nutrients related to bone mass
The most important nutrients required for growth and development of bones with children and for healthy bones all life through are calcium, vitamin D, protein, phosphorus. Besides these four nutrients, magnesium, zinc and vitamin C are needed for the maintenance of normal bones.1,2 Therefore it is important to get a sufficient amount of these nutrients as shown in table 1.3,4 The composition and structure of the bone tissue is mainly determined by calcium, phosphorus and protein.5
The importance of nutrition in ageing people
A key feature of the changing demographics in Asia is the growing number of elderly people in the population.1 Estimates suggest that the number of people aged over 65 years in Asia will treble by the year 2050, including a marked increase in the number of people aged 75 years and above.1 As a result, geriatric syndromes including frailty, loss of muscle mass and declining cognitive function are expected to become major health concerns across the region.2
The ageing Asian population and the health implications of frailty
Frailty is a significant health problem in the elderly, including in Asia, where the number of elderly people is increasing rapidly. Therefore, physicians need to be actively assessing elderly for the presence and severity of frailty in order to provide the best possible care for them. The physiological development of frailty and sarcopenia is a continuum, highlighting the importance of identifying ways to prevent the development of frailty, and the transition from prefrailty to frailty among el