Nutrition Can Improve Health and Well-being in Older Adults

Nutrition Can Improve Health and Well-being in Older Adults

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New research highlights the impact of personalized nutrition programs on quality of life and aging well.

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An older adult couple dances in their backyard.

DEC. 5, 2022   2 MINUTE READ

Think about some of the most important people in your life – there’s a good chance many of those people are older than you – maybe it’s your grandma, your dad or your neighbor across the street. Those relationships are critical for both you and them.

For many older people, family, friends and neighbors are the biggest source of support, but you may not understand all the struggles they deal with. Having less independence, adjusting to new health concerns or dealing with social isolation are just a few stressors people experience as they age – factors that can strongly impact physical and psychological well-being.

According to the World Health Organization, aging well means maintaining physical and mental function as you get older. Psychological well-being and physical health are closely connected, and research from Abbott, and Colombia’s Javeriana University and San Ignacio Hospital shows the important role nutrition can play to support aging.

About the Study

The study followed approximately 600 older Colombian adults, many of whom had a recent hospitalization or were managing a chronic disease and were either malnourished or at-risk. Researchers found that a simple and personalized nutrition program, combined with education and daily nutritional drinks for 60 days, had a positive impact on multiple measures related to physical and psychological well-being and overall quality of life.

This was the first and largest study of its kind conducted in Latin America, following older adults living at home. The personalized nutrition program involved a simple, three-step approach:

1. Screening and identifying individuals at risk for malnutrition

2. Providing a customized nutrition action plan, including exercise, nutrition education and the use of nutritional drinks

3. Following up regularly to provide support and reinforce compliance with the program

Participants who followed the personalized nutrition program showed improvements in markers of health, such as nutritional status, muscle mass, body weight and body mass index (BMI), which helped drive other benefits. At least 1 in 3 individuals had compromised baseline status, and among these individuals, significant improvements in cognition, physical functionality, psychological well-being and/or quality of life were reported. Further, the percentage of study participants reporting no problems with mobility and self-care (i.e., bathing, grooming, etc.) increased. 

Prioritizing Proper Nutrition

If you haven’t talked with one of those important people in your life about their nutrition, now’s the time. Adult malnutrition is a growing issue, impacting aging and health outcomes. Prioritizing proper nutrition can help improve physical and psychological well-being and overall quality of life with aging. If you have additional questions, are concerned you or your loved ones are at-risk of malnutrition or are interested in ways to improve your diet to support aging, talk to your doctor or seek advice from a dietitian.

The Best Nutrients and Foods for Skin Health

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A smiling woman lifts a forkful of salad to her mouth.


Nutrition is an often-overlooked element of healthy, glowing skin. After all, the nutrients in food play a large role in skin composition. Eating certain foods for skin health may improve complexion, fight off wrinkles and reduce risk of skin cancer. Here's how to build a skin-healthy diet to keep your complexion looking fresh.

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What Is Bone Density and Why Do You Lose It as You Age?

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Woman consulting with doctor in office with x-ray of bone


Doctors most often test for density using a specialized X-ray device called a DEXA scan. When test results show a decreased density score, it can indicate osteopenia or osteoporosis. Borderline scores signal osteopenia, meaning you are at risk of developing osteoporosis, or weakened bone density.

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