diet taken by the elderly may not impact their health outcomes, says a recent
has traditionally been thought that the elderly are frail, thin and weak. But
present reports contradict these beliefs. Recently it was revealed that 30
percent of the elderly are overweight and by 2030, 30 percent of seniors are
likely to be obese. If reports are to be believed, then there is a fair chance
of probable link between survival and obesity status among the elderly!
is generally known that the western diet contains a lot of fat and refined
sugar, both of which contribute to conditions such as obesity, cardiovascular
diseases and diabetes.
until now the effect of this form of diet has not been properly characterized
for older people, and that is what this study attempts to do.
the current study, almost the first of its kind, an attempt was made to
evaluate the effect of nutritional status on the health of 20,000 older people
living in Pennsylvania State out of which 449 individuals were followed up
after five years. The average age of the subjects was 76.5 years at the start
was carried out by calling the participants 4 to 5 times during a 10- month
period to find out what their diet was during the past 24 hours.
participants were categorized as belonging to any one of the three diet
and dairy" pattern - The group included those deriving energy from milk,
sweetened coffee and tea, baked goods, and dairy-based sweets and desserts.
These individuals consumed the lowest amount of poultry.
pattern - This group consumed more of
food items such as noodles,
pasta, rice, whole fruit, poultry, fish, nuts, and vegetables. They ate very
little fried vegetables or processed meats and their consumption of soft drinks
too was very low.
c) "Western" pattern Participants in
this group took higher quantities of bread, fats, eggs, fried vegetables, soft
drinks and alcohol. They consumed very little milk or whole fruits.
patients' outpatient electronic medical records were used to monitor the
development of cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension or
metabolic syndrome during the five-year follow up period.
significant link was found between dietary pattern and the prevalence of any of
these diseases. However, an increased risk for hypertension was observed in
those with the "sweets and dairy" food pattern.
study points to the fact that severe dietary restrictions do not make much
sense since all the participants were already of an advanced age. However, it
must be conceded that those who were strict with their diets had better health
The results of this study have been published in
Nutrition Health and Aging.