Elderly Nutrition Program
Elderly Nutrition Program Includes:
- The mission of the elderly nutrition program is to ensure that the elderly in the community achieve and maintain good nutrition.
- Elderly people who are eligible for this program are elderly people who are under community-based care programs.
- The program will first inquire from the community-based care centers what type of food and food components they serve the elderly with. Then they will be guided on how to prepare a nutritious diet, that is, one with all the necessary requirements to make a balanced diet. Afterward, they will be provided with different food stuff and followed up to find out if they are following the guidelines given on preparation of nutritious diet.
- In the period between 1993 and 1995, an evaluation of the Federal Elderly Nutrition Program was conducted. The objective of the evaluation was to examine the effectiveness of the nutrition program and the effects the program had on participants’ nutrition. The findings of the evaluation were, the elderly who received Federal Elderly Nutrition Program meals had higher daily intakes in key nutrients than nonparticipants and every meal served under the program provided the participants with 40 to 50% of most nutrients daily (Evaluation of the Federal Elderly Nutrition Program, 2011).
- I agree with the outcome of the evaluation. This is because, when the elderly are put under a nutrition program while they are in a care center or at home, it is easier to monitor the nutrition component of their daily meals as compared to those who are not in any nutrition program. Every nutrition program ensures that every meal contains at least 40 to 50% of all the nutrients required in the body.
- Nevertheless, I would recommend that for the program to become more effective, it can develop a weekly meal schedule. Every meal should have specific nutrition requirements. This way, it would become easier to monitor daily and weekly nutrient intake by the elderly.
- The Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2010 report brief recommended that the FDA should set mandatory standards for the sodium content in foods. This is to be achieved by reducing excess sodium in processed foods and menu items to safer levels. This did not mean that FDA was to ban the inclusion of sodium in processed food, but it meant that the process of sodium reduction was going to be gradual until the recommended levels are achieved (Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States, 2010).
- On the other hand, the 2010 Dietary Guideline for Americans recommended that maximum sodium intake for people above the age of 2 years should be 2,300mg (one tablespoon) per day (Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010: Potassium, Sodium and Water, 2011). This shows that IOM is a bit lenient regarding the reduction of sodium levels in food as opposed to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
- The reason as to why many health and government officials are concerned about sodium intake in the population is because high sodium intake has been associated with numerous cases of high blood pressure both in children and in adults as well as other cardiovascular diseases.
- Sodium intake among Americans is high than the recommended level because salt, which is the primary source of sodium, is used in daily means to enhance the taste. In addition, processed food and food prepared in restaurants contain the high amount of sodium which is added to add food flavor. The amount of natural sodium in food is very little and this too contributes to high levels of sodium intake in food as people try to add in the salty taste which lacks in many foods (Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States, 2010).
- For the Federal Elderly Nutrition Program mentioned earlier, it has not been mentioned whether the program includes sodium guidelines or not. Therefore, it is hard to identify which sodium intake guidelines are there in the program if any are present.
- Apart from IOM recommendations regarding sodium intake, the government should launch a national wide campaign to sensitize people to the effects of high sodium intake in their meals. When people are aware of the implications high sodium have on their bodies, they can voluntarily reduce sodium intake in form of salt which is added to everyday meals. Another recommendation is that people should be encouraged to supplement salt with other food components which give food salty flavor. This will help in reducing daily salt intake.
- According to a letter which was written by Oliver (2011) to Food Revolutionaries, he states that the sale of flavored milk has increased in many schools. He requests schools and parents to join hands in denying the sale of flavored milk to school children and restrict their lunch beverages to pure milk or water.
- According to Oliver, parents who give money to their children and tell them to buy flavored milk are the main supporters on of this. For these parents, they think that flavored milk is just like milk which their children can take to supplement their beverage intake. However, they might not be aware that flavored milk contains as much sugar as contained in a can of soda. This increases the risk of obesity and children as well as type 2 diabetes (Oliver, 2011).
- For those parents who are aware of the risks of flavored milk, they do not support its sale in schools or in local canteens whatsoever.
- From a personal perspective, people should voluntarily reduce intake of food components which are likely to cause harm in their bodies. Where people are not aware of which food components are risky to their health, they should consult nutritionists or health officials for more information.