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NIHSeniorHealth offers tips on eating well as you get older



May 7, 2008

Stephanie Dailey, NIA | 301-496-1752 | nianews3@mail.nih.gov

Kathy Cravedi, NLM | 301-496-6308 | kcravedi@nlm.nih.gov



How should you eat as you get older? Which foods are likely to keep you most healthy and which ones should you limit? Is it possible to eat well and stay within a healthy weight? These and other questions are addressed in "Eating Well as You Get Older," the latest topic to be added to NIHSeniorHealth, the health and wellness Web site developed by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM), both part of the National Institutes of Health.

"Eating well is vital at any age, but as you get older, your daily food choices can make an important difference in your health. Good nutrition is one component of an overall strategy to stay healthy," says Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the NIA, which developed the content for the topic on NIHSeniorHealth. Eating a well-planned, balanced mix of healthy foods every day may help prevent heart disease, type 2 diabetes, bone loss, some kinds of cancer, and anemia.

However, eating healthy may not always be easy for older adults. Changing appetites, slower metabolism, eating alone, buying ready-to-eat meals, and living on a fixed income can affect the quality of one's food choices. Yet our need for healthy foods does not diminish with age. As we age, our bodies still require essential nutrients to help us maintain function, and most of those nutrients are found in foods.

"It is important for older adults to select foods that provide them with the nutrients and energy they need for healthy, active living," says Dr. Hodes. "NIHSeniorHealth is a valuable source of information on this important issue." In addition to learning how to make wise food choices, older adults who visit http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/toc.html will find information about food labels, food safety, meal planning, food shopping, and ways to enhance the enjoyment of eating.

One of the fastest growing age groups using the Internet, older Americans increasingly turn to the Internet for health information. In fact, 68 percent of online seniors surf for health and medical information when they go on the Web. NIHSeniorHealth, which is based on the latest research on cognition and aging, features short, easy-to-read segments of information that can be accessed in a variety of formats, including large-print type sizes, open-captioned videos and even an audio version. Additional topics coming soon to the site include Parkinson's disease, complementary and alternative medicine, and leukemia.

The NIA leads the federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the health and well being of older people.

The NLM, the world's largest library of the health sciences, creates and sponsors Web-based health information resources for the public and professionals.

The National Institutes of Health - The Nation's Medical Research Agency - is comprised of 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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