Print Article

Older Adults Now Have Their Own Food Pyramid!

By Brigitte Goldberg

Older adults which include ages 70 and above have different requirements as far as nutritional needs, exercise and fluid intake. Therefore, Tufts University decided to modify the MyPyramid food pyramid put out by the USDA to suit the needs of older adults. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults has just been published in the Journal of Nutrition and provides older adults with a complete way of living to keep them healthy and disease free.

In addition to the MyPyramid food pyramid that was introduced in 2006 by the USDA, those 70 and above should follow the Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults to make sure that all their nutritional needs are met, as well as making sure that they stay healthy, fit and disease free.

What additions have been added to MyPyramid to make sure older adults stay healthy and fit? Firstly, instead of having just colors representing certain food groups, the modified pyramid has added icons into the pyramid to make it easier for older people to see exactly what it is that they should be eating.

As we age it gets increasingly harder to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. It is much easier for older adults to purchase canned and frozen fruits and vegetables, therefore the modified pyramid inserted packaged vegetables and fruits to make it easier for older adults to get their daily requirement without having to replenish their supply on a constant basis.

Two new rows have been added to the pyramid. Directly under the pyramid of food to be eaten is a row consisting of fluids, represented by glasses. Older people need to consume larger amounts of fluid because as we age we tend to feel less thirsty. The row of glasses filled with water shows them that fluids are essential even though they might feel less thirsty.

The bottom of the pyramid shows various activities that older people can enjoy on a daily basis. Obesity has been on the rise amongst the older aged group and exercise contributes to a longer and healthier life.

Finally a flag has been added to the top of the pyramid to encourage older people to discuss with their health care provider the option of adding supplements to their diet. As we age, our bodies crave additional supplements that food alone may not provide. It is important for our bodies to be complete and therefore the flag at the top brings your attention to the fact that supplements might be needed in addition to eating healthy.

Eating healthy doesn't need to be a challenge for those aged 70 and above anymore. By following the Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults, increasing fluid intake and keeping an active lifestyle, older adults can feel and be healthy with minimum effort. For more information about the Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults, you can visit Tufts University on the web at http://nutrition.tufts.edu and then type in Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults into the search bar.