Healthy Aging, the Natural Consequences of Good Nutrition
2 DECEMBER 2017 | BERLIN
Many countries are witnessing a marked increase in longevity and with this increased lifespan and the desire for healthy ageing, many, however, suffer from the opposite including mental and physical deterioration, lost productivity and quality of life, and increased medical costs. While adequate nutrition is fundamental for good health, it remains unclear what impact various dietary interventions may have on prolonging good quality of life. Studies which span age, geography and income all suggest that access to quality foods, host immunity and response to inflammation/infections, impaired senses (i.e., sight, taste, smell) or mobility are all factors which can limit intake or increase the body’s need for specific micronutrients. New clinical studies of healthy ageing are needed and quantitative biomarkers are an essential component, particularly tools which can measure improvements in physiological integrity throughout life, thought to be a primary contributor to a long and productive life (a healthy “lifespan”). A framework for progress has recently been proposed in a WHO report which takes a broad, person-centered focus on healthy ageing, emphasizing the need to better understand an individual’s intrinsic capacity, their functional abilities at various life stages, and the impact by mental, and physical health, and the environments they inhabit.