Nutritional Requirements of Older People

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Nutritional requirements of older people
The nutritional needs of elderly people are generally similar to those of younger adults. Recommended daily intakes for micro nutrients as recommended by the Department of Health DRVs (Dietary Reference Values)

Nutrient| Recommended daily intake
for 50+ years|
Calcium (mg)| 700|
Phosphorus (mg)| 550|
Magnesium (mg)| 270|
Sodium (mg)| 1600|
Potassium (mg)| 3500|
Chloride (mg)| 2500|
Iron (mg)| 14.8|
Zinc (mg)| 9|
Copper (mg)| 1.2|
Selenium (μg)| 60|
Iodine (μg)| 140|
Vitamin A (μg)| 600|
Thiamin (mg)| 0.8|
Riboflavin (mg)| 1.1|
Niacin (mg)| 12|
Vitamin B6 (mg)| 1.2|
Vitamin B12 (μg)| 1.5|
Folate (μg)| 200|
Vitamin C (mg)| 40|
Vitamin D* (μg)| 10|

* The recommendation for vitamin D only applies for adults over the age of 65 years. With the exception of vitamin D, there are no specific recommendations for people aged over 65 years. Energy
Energy requirements, however, decline with increasing age, particularly if physical activity is restricted. Estimated energy requirements as recommended by the
Department of Health DRVs (Dietary Reference Values)
Age (years)| Estimated energy requirement
for males (kcals per day)| Estimated energy requirement
for females (kcals per day)|
19-50| 2550| 1940| 51-59| 2550| 1900| 60-64| 2380| 1900| 65-74| 2330| 1900| 75+| 2100| 1810| Although this often means eating less, requirements for protein, vitamins and minerals remain largely unchanged. It is therefore important that older people choose a nutrient-dense diet, including foods which contain protein, vitamins and minerals such as milk and dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, bread, cereals, and fruit and vegetables. Protein

Protein requirements become slightly lower in men, but increase slightly in women after 50 years of age. However, as energy requirements decrease, the protein density of the diet should be greater for both men and women i.e. more protein containing foods such as lean meat, milk and dairy foods, eggs and pulses should be eaten. Protein requirements may also be increased in some older people due to illness. Protein requirements as recommended by the

Department of Health DRVs (Dietary Reference Values)
Age(years)| Estimated protein requirement
for males (kcals per day)| Estimated protein requirement
for females (kcals per day)|
19-50| 55.5| 45.0| 51+| 53.3| 46.5| Important micronutrients
Vitamin D
Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium from food and is therefore important for good bone health. As vitamin D is mainly obtained from the action of sunlight on the skin, people who are housebound or live in institutions may be at risk of deficiency. The National Diet and Nutrition Survey of people aged 65 and over reported low vitamin D intake in some subgroups of the elderly population. It is recommended that everyone over 65 years of age takes a vitamin D supplement (10µg/day). Good dietary providers of vitamin D (e.g. oily fish, margarine, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals) should also be eaten regularly. Calcium

Adequate intakes of calcium can help to slow age-related bone loss, which can result in osteoporosis and fracture. Although requirements for calcium do not change as we become more elderly, it is still important that calcium requirements are met through the diet. Milk and dairy products are the main providers of dietary calcium in UK diets and consuming them can help us meet our calcium requirements. Contribution of dairy products to calcium intake

Dairy product| Portion size| Contribution to...
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