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Diet And Age

Diet And AgeAs Adults Get Older, Nutritional Needs Can Be Difficult To Satisfy.

Boston [02.22.01] With slowing metabolisms and changing nutritional needs, older adults can find themselves in a nutritional "Catch 22," says Tufts' Alice Lichtenstein -- a nutrition researcher at the university.

More fat and less muscle often causes older adults to lose their energy, making it more difficult to get enough exercise, she says. Which, in return, leads to even less muscle -- feeding the cycle.

The key to breaking the pattern may be less food, Lichtenstein tells CBS Healthwatch.

"The challenge as we age is getting the same or more nutrients in less food," she says. "Everything is conspiring to require less calories. But we're not recommending people hitting 60 or 70 make major changes."

Among the suggestions: drinking more water and getting plenty of vitamins.

"As we get older, we're less sensitive to our body's state of hydration," Lichtenstein tells CBS. "We don't get the sensation of thirst as strongly, so it's easier to get dehydrated." Older adults should drink two quarts of water every day, she adds.

Tufts' Bess Dawson-Hughes -of the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts -- says seniors should watch their calcium and vitamin consumption as well.

"Calcium and vitamin D are very important in this population of 65 and older, and in order to get the full benefit, you need to be consistent in taking it," Dawson-Hughes tells Yahoo's Healthscout -- a leading source of health news online.

"Vitamin D isn't present in a lot of foods," she tells CBS. Her recommendation -- "If you don't get out in the sun or eat high vitamin D foods such as milk, egg yolks and fatty fish, the amount of vitamin D in most multivitamins offers good protection."

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