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Update: Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults

Update: Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults

 

Tufts University researchers have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with the USDA food pyramid, now known as MyPyramid. The Tufts version is specifically designed for older adults and has changed in appearance and content.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults continues to emphasize nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance, but has added additional guidance about forms of foods that could best meet the unique needs of older adults and about the importance of regular physical activity.

“Adults over the age of 70 have unique dietary needs,” says first author Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts (USDA HNRCA). “Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because they are not as physically active as they once were and their metabolic rates slow down. Nevertheless, their bodies still require the same or higher levels of nutrients for optimal health outcomes. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults is intended to be used for general guidance in print form or as a supplement to the MyPyramid computer-based program.”

In 2005, the USDA debuted MyPyramid, an Internet-based program capable of dispensing individualized dietary guidance based on sex, age, height, weight, and exercise habits. Lichtenstein and colleagues were concerned about computer use among older adults and the adaptability of MyPyramid to print form. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults is available as a graphic print-out with icons representing foods in the following categories, and fluid and physical activity:

  • 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, house work and yard work.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults stresses the importance of consuming fluids by having a row of glasses as its foundation. “As we age there can be a disassociation between how hydrated our bodies are and how thirsty we feel, this can be particularly of concern in the summer months,” Lichtenstein says.

REHACARE.de; Source: Tufts University

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