Wednesday, December 26, 2007

An Age-specific Food Pyramid Recently Released

Tufts University has updated its food pyramid for over-70 adults, called the Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults, stressing nutrient- and fiber-rich foods over supplements. The modified pyramid emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables. The modified pyramid encourages the use of fiber-rich foods in all food groups and reduced fat intake focusing on low saturated fat and vegetables rich in proteins. The importance of fluid balance is emphasizd.

Older adults need fewer calories because they are not as physically active as they once were and their metabolic rates slow down. However, the aging body still requires the same or higher levels of nutrients for optimal health outcomes. In order to get a nutrient dense diet, the following foods are encouraged:

• Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread.
• Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.
• Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon.
• Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk.
• Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs.
• Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat.
• Fluid intake.

Physical activity such as walking, swimming, house work and yard work are emphasized. Regular physical activity is linked to reduced risk of chronic disease and lower body weights.

There are numerous study findings that obesity in adults 70 years and older has been increasing. Physical activity is one way to avoid weight gain in later years and the consequences of sedentary lifestyle.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults stresses the importance of drinking enough fluids by having a row of glasses as its foundation. A common problem associated with aging is the lack of thirst even when the body lacks adequate water intake.