It’s time to make lifestyle changes so you can stay active in the coming years. Research shows that it’s not too late for smart food choices and other good health habits, like being physically active, to help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis and the disability that can result from them.
Making wise food choices as you grow older might be easier than you think. A lot of good information is available about nutrition and older people. In What’s On Your Plate? Smart Food Choices for Healthy Aging, the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), introduces you to the basic facts for making good food choices a part of your daily life and for adjusting those choices as you grow older and your needs change.
What’s On Your Plate? is based on the nutrition recommendations for older adults in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Much of the information is based on evidence from research, including studies conducted and supported by the NIH.
You might want to first skim through the entire book to get a general idea of all the elements involved in healthy eating. Then you can go back to the parts of the book that you want to read in more detail. Tips sprinkled throughout the book can help you make good food choices. You can also refer to the book from time to time to adjust your eating pattern—the combination of all foods and beverages you eat and drink over time. We invite you to share your copy with friends or relatives or give them our website, www.nia.nih.gov/health , or our toll-free phone number (1-800-222-2225) so they can get their own. They can also learn more about NIA’s free booklets and fact sheets on a variety of topics of interest to older people and their families.
What’s On Your Plate? includes a lot of resources you can check for more information. Some of them are websites. If you have a print copy and don’t have a computer or another form of Internet access, whenever possible, we have included a phone number where you can get similar information. If you are reading the book online, you can click directly on the link.
As with many things, one size does not fit all. One of the eating plans described in this book might work for you. But if, for example, your Aunt Sadie has special needs, her doctor might suggest checking with a dietitian, an expert in how diet and health go together. No matter how you move forward, we hope you find What’s On Your Plate? a valuable resource for helping you choose better nutrition, an important part of health and aging.