Nutritional concerns, health and survival in old age

C.P.G.M. de Groot, W.A. van Staveren

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The ageing process is-apart from chance or good luck-not only influenced by factors intrinsic to the individual, but also by extrinsic factors that include environmental and lifestyle variables. This paper deals with the epidemiological evidence for the role of dietary patterns and key nutritional concerns in relation to survival and ageing related disorders that present themselves in later life. Dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, characterized by mainly plant foods including protective factors e.g. vegetables, nuts and monounsaturated fatty acids and excluding harmful factors e.g. trans-fatty acids and foods with a high glycemic factor, appear to be relevant even in old age. Specific nutritional concerns focus on general undernutrition, vitamin D and vitamin B(12). Prevalence of nutritional inadequacies, diagnostic criteria, causes and health consequences are described. The paper ends with recommendations for guidance on healthy diets for elderly people. An important challenge should be research to further expand the knowledge base, acknowledging the complexity of the ageing process and integrating different dimensions of research into human healthy ageing in properly designed studies. In the mean time reversing poor adherence to existing guidelines for a healthy diet remains a first challenge in public health nutritional practices
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-602
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • vitamin-d
  • mediterranean diet
  • fractures
  • deficiency
  • disease
  • people
  • folate

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