Under nutrition is one of the major problems among the rural elderly which directly affects their health. In order to understand this problem, Dr. Natarajan has conducted a number of research studies on Geriatric Nutrition in the rural areas. The thrust on nutrition in old age given by Prof. Natarajan has attracted international attention also. Research awards were given to him by the Roussel Scientific Institute, Mumbai and the World renowned Sandoz Foundation for Gerontological Research, Australia for studies on Geriatric Nutrition
Based on the results of his research work Dr.Natarajan has identified the common nutritional deficiencies among the rural elderly, and has formulated low and moderate cost menus suitable for the older persons. Impressed by Dr. Natarajan’s work on Geriatric Nutrition, Helpage India has published his book “NUTRITION FOR BETTER HEALTH IN OLD AGE” for National and International circulation. The book is found to be very useful in imparting knowledge on nutritional aspects in the health care of the elderly all over the country by distributing the book free of cost to non-government organizations, institutions for the care of the aged, day centers, primary health care centers, medical practitioners, nutritionists and others.
On “World Elders Day” (1-10-2006) published another book on nutrition titled as “HEALTHY NUTRITION FOR HEALTHY AGEING”. This deals with the basic aspects of nutrition and dietary advice for the common diseases in old age.
- Nutrition for Better Health in Old Age (English)
- Mudumaikala Oonavugal (Tamil)
- Nalvazvuketra Oonavugal (Tamil)
- Vayathanavarkalukkaana Saththunavu (Tamil)
- Healthy Nutrition for Healthy Ageing (English)
- Healthy Nutrition for the Elderly (English)
Tips for Healthy Nutrition
- Proper nutrition is essential to maintain good health in elderly people. The nutritional status of the elderly is influenced, to a great extent by the social, economic and psychological background of our country.
- Older adults should be encouraged to make a habit of drinking water and other fluids throughout the day, even if they do not feel thirsty. Although not a provider of energy, adequate fluid and water intake is essential. The fluid and water intake per day should be about 30ml / kg / day.
- The elderly should try to include 20-40gm of dietary fibre (both soluble, such as oatmeal and insoluble, such as wheat bran fibre) in their diet each day.
- Dietary fibre not only prevents constipation but also reduces the risk of cancer colon, reduces blood sugar and cholesterol and incidence of gall stones.
- Low calorie diet will increase the longevity.
- The highest daily calcium intake is required after age 50. Intake of 1200 mg of calcium can be achieved by consuming the following foods : dairy products (eg.milk, yogurt and cheese), dark green vegetables, canned fish with bones (but not fish fillets), nuts and more recently, fortified foods (including juices, waffles, cereals, crackers and snack foods).
- The diet of the elderly may be vegetarian or non-vegetarian. But they should take care to ensure that their diet contains adequate calories, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. A balanced diet will go a long way in ensuring a healthy life for elders.
- Undernutrition rather than over nutrition is the main cause for concern, since its relation to morbidity and mortality is stronger than that of obesity.
- Eat three good meals a day – heavy breakfast, moderate lunch and light dinner.
- Make meals a pleasant experience. Healthy eating can be an enjoyable experience!