Adult Nutrition – From Young Adult To Older Age

Adult nutrition addresses the longest life cycle stage of the human being, from about 18 years through the end of life which can last well into the 90’s and even for a few into the 100’s. As more and more adults live well into their 70’s, 80’s and even 90’s adult nutritional needs become even more important to allow the adult population to age well. Thanks to the baby boomer generation, older adults are the fastest growing population group.

It is during adolescence that growth and development of the human organism peaks and stabilizes and entering adulthood begins to decline. Adulthood is broken down into young adults which includes ages 19-30, middle adult from ages 31-50, and older adults from ages 51-70 years and older. The primary goal during these years is maintenance of the organism.

Age related changes in body composition, sensory abilities, organ systems and immune functions are considered normal functions of aging. As we age we will begin to experience a decline in:

• Production of saliva

• Digestive secretions

• Lactase secretions

• Gastrointestinal motility

• Cardiac output

• Blood volume

• Kidney function

• Liver function

• Immune function

• Vitamin absorption

On the other hand adults as they age will begin to experience an increase in:

• Blood pressure

• Body weight

• Bone loss

As adults aging takes place at different rates for different adults and many age related declines have little impact on the aging adult’s day to day life. There are other changes related to aging that affect the nutrient needs and nutrient status of the aging adult, and as a result it becomes important to eat nutrient dense foods.

One of the biggest concerns as we age is maintaining mental function which is a bigger fear than losing physical function for many aging adults. The key to maintaining both mental and physical function is keeping both mentally and physically active. There will be slight changes involving sensory acuity, secondary memory, and information processing speed but these changes do not have to affect the quality of life of the adult nor do they have to lead to rapid or progressive declines in mental function.

When some adults need to be evaluated for signs of dementia or depression, it may often be the over use of medications or drug interactions that are responsible for changes in behavior rather than disease.

Although aging can’t be controlled, it is still possible to age well by paying attention to aspects of the lifestyle that can be controlled that can contribute to a healthier old age. Choices such as food, exercise, smoking, and alcohol use, since these factors can affect the risk for chronic disease as well as how well we age, and the rate at which we age.

Paying careful attention to adult nutrition is the key to successful aging which can be defined as the ability to maintain a lower risk of disease and disease related disability, high mental and physical function, and an active engagement in life.

Older Adult Changes - Age Related Physiologic Declines
Adult Nutrient Needs - Eating For Healthier Aging
Adult Health Concerns - Chronic Nutrition Related Concerns

For other information about adult nutrition click on the link to

For other information on nutrition some great references are:

• Nutrition – Fourth Edition by Paul Insel, Don Ross, Kimberley McMahon, and Melissa Bernstein

Nutrition and Pregnancy
Nutrition During Pregnancy
Nutrition After Pregnancy
Infant Nutrition
Infant Solids Nutrition
Life Cycle Nutrition
Childhood Nutrition
Adolescent Nutrition
Alcohol and Diet
Chronic Disease
Nutrition Eating Disorders
Exercise and Vitamins
Nutrition and Exercise
Nutrients In Food
Energy From Food
Water and Nutrition
Dietary Minerals
Cooking and Nutrition
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