A blog about the latest developments in the food technology sector.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
CARING FOR THE OLD-NEW DIETARY GUIDELINES
Food and nutrition needs of elderly population are known to differ significantly from those of younger population and there does not appear to be any unanimity amongst policy makers and industry leaders regarding their optimum requirements. It is recognized that the dulling of taste buds and flavor receptors makes it difficult for elders to appreciate the sensory quality of many foods and special attention needs to be paid in designing and preparation of foods intended for this target group. Besides the daily requirement of various nutrients changes with age and this also is to be factored in the menu planning for elderly folks. Inadequate calories and proteins besides other nutrients can also debilitate the various faculties and physical well being. It is laudable for the food industry to join hands with care professionals to evolve guidelines for food preparations meant for senior citizens in a country like the UK.
"The aim is to standardise meals to ensure elderly people are properly fed and receive all the nutrients they need for good health after research showed that hundreds of thousands of elderly people in the UK are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition. The guidelines were published by the National Association of Care Catering (NACC), which represents companies and professionals supplying meals to local authority care homes, people's own homes and day centres. Overall, each meal served at lunch or dinner-time should contain a minimum of 300 calories, 15g of protein and include a good source of starch and a minimum of an 80g serving of vegetables, the guidelines said. Desserts other than fruit should provide at least 200 calories while breakfast should carry a minimum of 380 calories and 8g of protein. Five portions of fruit and vegetables should be available each day alongside a minimum of seven drinks. The nutritional standard also calls on caterers to take account of special dietary needs, such as providing soft food that is easy to eat, and to take account of medical conditions which require special diets".
Old age population is likely to overwhelm all countries within the next couple of decades and unless timely planning is done now it is possible that this category of population becomes a drag on the developmental efforts for improving quality of life amongst the citizens. While infrastructure for housing and decent living with assistance can be easily achieved, it is the area of food and nutrition that will pose tremendous challenge to almost all countries in this planet. Added to this is the problem of diversity amongst the old age population, each one being a specific case by itself defying design of any common foods suitable to all. Geriatric science must gear up to meet the newly emerging challenges to ensure relief and serenity amongst the fast aging population around the world.