Serious Malnutrition problems among Filipino elderly
by Dr. Angel V. Somera

Aresearch made by the Philippine College of Gerontology has discovered a serious malnutrition problem among the Filipino elderly in the country. The report says that as people age, men and women alike need extra or high protein, vitamins and minerals in order to maintain good health. Dra. Eva Irene Yu- Maglonzo says that malnutrition is common in the elderly. Hence, they are encouraged to take supplements especially the milk supplements. Doctors know that as people age, anatomic and physiologic changes in the body during aging predispose the elderly to malnutrition. Factors like poor dentition, atrophy of taste buds, feeling of depression, hypothyroidism, mal-absorption syndrome, poor nutritional food preparation, presence of anorexia (poor appetite) profoundly affect the elderly in their nutritional needs. Many of these changes are commonly undiagnosed by the examining physician.

The unhealthy effects of malnutrition are: involuntary weight loss, poor wound healing, susceptibility to ulcer formation, prolongation of illness and infection, and easily predispose to complications. And if not treated early may consequently lead to early death.

Nutritionists claim that alnutrition is easier to prevent than to treat in the elderly. Incorporating nutritional supplements of fortified milk in the diet of the elderly may help prevent malnutrition. Vitamins - Vit. A, B-Complex and Vit. C, and minerals calcium, phosphorus, selenium and zinc should be there. There should be a balanced diet of vegetables, fruits, cereals and fish aside from the supplements. This would reassure the elderly of the right amount of carbohydrates, protein and fats.

If all these sound nutritional pieces of advice are observed and followed by every caregiver in their homes, respectively then we can assure that our Filipino elderly, will be well nourished, healthy and happy, and will live a much longer life!

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