Fonterra fights malnutrition in the elderly

Fonterra fights malnutrition in the elderly

People are living longer but malnourishment in the elderly is rife, which has prompted Fonterra to join the five-year international project ‘The Prevention of Malnutrition in Senior Subjects in the EU’ (PROMISS).

The project, which consists of 24 scientific and nutritional organisations, is investigating the role of diet and appetite in malnutrition and functional decline of people over 70 years. Combining existing and new data from intervention studies in older persons at risk, it will provide evidence to develop dietary and physical activity strategies to prevent malnutrition and enhance healthy ageing.

Poor nutrition is a global issue that puts the elderly at risk of health issues. A recent Massey University study led by Associate Professor Carol Wham found that almost 75% of older adults in New Zealand were at risk of malnourishment or already malnourished when they were admitted to hospital.

Fonterra Director NZMP Medical Nutrition Maarten van Beek said, “Older people need more protein to support good health, as malnourishment can cause muscle shrinking, as well as other health-related problems. The findings should offer valuable insights into the best ways to incorporate more protein into their diets.”

According to van Beek, Fonterra aims to use its technical knowledge to develop nutritional food products that can both help individuals improve their health and reduce the strain on healthcare systems.

NZMP — Fonterra’s dairy ingredients brand — focuses on developing protein-fortified foods that are similar in taste and texture to ‘normal food’. As part of the project’s food trials to assess taste, and mobility and muscle outcomes, participants will add NZMP dairy protein ingredients such as coconut protein water, a chocolate and vanilla pudding and rice pudding to their diets.

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