White Paper: Opportunities to Improve Nutrition for Older Adults and Reduce Risk of Poor Health Outcomes

The ‘Opportunities to Improve Nutrition for Older Adults and Reduce Risk of Poor Health Outcomes‘ issue brief addresses opportunities to improve nutrition for older adults and also reduce the risk of poor health outcomes because as people age, they may experience malnutrition. Appetite and the body’s ability to process food may decrease with age, while health conditions and use of medications that can affect nutrition status may increase. In addition, limited ability to shop for and prepare food can affect a person’s access to it. Factors like isolation and depression also can affect nutrition.

Malnutrition may lead to poor health in older adults. Fortunately, states, aging and health services providers, and health plans can access evidence about opportunities to improve older adults’ nutrition status. The issue brief offers examples for states and others to consider about how they might improve older adults’ health and well-being through malnutrition interventions for community-living older adults and those experiencing hospitalization. Interventions include provision of meals and meal enhancements. These interventions can improve the nutrition status of many older adults who are at risk of undernutrition in the community or in the hospital.