Nutritional guidelines for older people in Finland

Abstract

Background

Ageing is associated with an increased risk of malnutrition, decreased nutrient intake, unintentional weight loss and sarcopenia, which lead to frailty, functional disabilities and increased mortality. Nutrition combined with exercise is important in supporting older people’s health, functional capacity and quality of life.

Objective

To identify nutritional needs in various groups of older individuals and to present the nutritional guidelines for older people in Finland.

Design

A review of the existing literature on older people’s nutritional needs and problems. The draft guidelines were written by a multidisciplinary expert panel; they were then revised, based on comments by expert organisations. The guidelines were approved by the National Nutritional Council in Finland.

Results

The heterogeneity of the older population is highlighted. The five key guidelines are: 1. The nutritional needs in different age and disability groups should be considered. 2. The nutritional status and food intake of older individuals should be assessed regularly. 3. An adequate intake of energy, protein, fiber, other nutrients and fluids should be guaranteed. 4.The use of a vitamin D supplement (20 μg per day) recommended. 5.The importance of physical activity is highlighted. In addition, weight changes, oral health, constipation, obesity, implementing nutritional care are highlighted.

Conclusions

Owing to the impact that good nutrition has on health and well-being in later life, nutrition among older people should be given more attention. These nutritional guidelines are intended to improve the nutrition and nutritional care of the older population.

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Suominen, M.H., Jyvakorpi, S.K., Pitkala, K.H. et al. Nutritional guidelines for older people in Finland. J Nutr Health Aging 18, 861–867 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12603-014-0509-1

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Key words

  • Nutrition
  • guidelines
  • older people