Eating, drinking and ageing well – a new BDA resource for older people

10 Nov 2023

A healthy eating resource has been developed to highlight new evidence and a more age-appropriate message around food and nutrition for older adults.

The resource, which is supported by the Friends of the Elderly and British Geriatrics Society has been created by the British Dietetic Association’s (BDA) Older People Specialist Group for the BDA. The group recognised that a resource like this was much needed and enlisted the support of the University of Plymouth to review the latest dietetic evidence to support its creation.

Eating, drinking and ageing well

Healthy eating messages for the general population are not always appropriate for older people, due to additional factors which influence health and eating with ageing.

Over 65s, for example, need a diet containing more protein, calcium, folate and vitamin B12. They may not be as able to identify thirst as they used to as well, so highlighting the need to drink enough, and that all fluids count for older people is important. 

Alison Smith, Prescribing Support Consultant Dietitian and Integrated Care System Lead, said, “This resource is the culmination of five years work within the Older People Specialist Group Committee and is clearly needed and wanted. Every step of the way and each time we spoke about it with other professionals and organisations we’ve been asked when it will be ready for them to use!”

Some of the key topics identified in the resource include maintaining body weight, getting enough of the nutrients needed as you get older, the importance of vitamin D, hydration, realistic levels of activity needed alongside nutrition and why it’s so important to enjoy what you eat, and eat in a way you enjoy.

The resource also aligns with the Chief Medical Officer’s (CMO) Annual Report out this November - Health in an Ageing Society. The BDA was represented by Older People Specialist Group Chair Vittoria Romano at the discussions around the CMO’s report.

Vittoria, who works as a Specialist Nutrition Support Dietitian said, “We didn’t plan to launch the new resource on the same day as the CMO Annual Report but it is fitting that its focus is on our ageing population and the considerations we need to make. This is why we are incredibly pleased to now be able to offer this practical and timely resource that will help older adults to age well.

“I am so delighted that this much anticipated resource has now been published and is now available to the public and health care professionals.”

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The review of the evidence base by the University of Plymouth can be found here.

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