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Updated Food Pyramid for Older Adults ReleasedUpdated Food Pyramid for Older Adults Released

December 27, 2007

2 Min Read
Updated Food Pyramid for Older Adults Released

Researchers at Tufts University, Boston, have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults, originally published in 1999, to correspond with the USDAs 2005 MyPyramid Plan. Specifically designed for adults over the age of 70, the Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults emphasizes nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance and regular physical activity. The updated guide also offers guidance about which forms of foods best meet the unique needs of older adults.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults includes icons representing the following categories:

Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread.

Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.

Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon.

Low- and nonfat dairy products such as yogurt and low-lactose milk.

Dry beans and nuts, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs.

Liquid vegetable oils and soft spreads low in saturated and trans fat.

New to the pyramid is a foundation depicting physical activities characteristic of older adults, as well as a row of glasses intended to stress the importance of consuming fluids. Other icons depict packaged fruits and vegetables, which are appropriate for older adults as they are easy to prepare and have a longer shelf life than fresh produce. Also included is a flag at the top suggesting that older adults may need certain supplemental nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12.

Adults over the age of 70 have unique dietary needs, says first author Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts (USDA HNRCA). Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because they are not as physically active as they once were and their metabolic rates slow down. Nevertheless, their bodies still require the same or higher levels of nutrients for optimal health outcomes. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults is intended to be used for general guidance in print form or as a supplement to the MyPyramid computer-based program.

The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults is scheduled for publication in the Jan. 2008 issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

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