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In Ibadan Many old people have nutrition-related problems says Dietician

He told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday that nutritional deficiency is caused by inadequate supply of essential nutrients in diet, resulting in malnutrition or disease.

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Mr Tunde Ajobo, a dietician, says many old people in Nigeria have nutrition-related problems.

Ajobo, of University College Hospital, told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Ibadan on Thursday that nutritional deficiency is caused by inadequate supply of essential nutrients in diet, resulting in malnutrition or disease.

“It could also be lack of one or more of the essential nutrients because of primary or dietary inadequacy or as a result of secondary or conditioned inadequacy”, he said.

According to him, it is varied and prevalent in the aged. “About 85 per cent of the aged have nutrition-related problems such as osteoporosis, obesity, hypertension and diabetes mellitus".

Ajobo said some of the nutritional problems of the older people are caused by their inability to form and absorb Vitamin D, “which affects absorption of calcium in old age.

“The latest National Diet and Nutrition Survey of Older People showed that the majority of people over 65 years failed to achieve the recommended intake source of Vitamin D”, he said.

He added that primary nutritional deficiency in adults included poor food habit, poverty, ignorance, lack of food, and excess consumption of highly refined foods.

Ajobo said other types of deficiencies included problems with ingestion, absorption, utilisation, nutrient requirement destruction and nutrient excretion.

According to the dietician, secondary conditioned deficiency, which is progressive and continuous, may lead to depletion of nutrient reserve if not corrected in time.

He said biochemical changes or lesions occur in selected tissue or the body at large, and these eventually result in functional changes like loss of appetite, easy fatigue and gastrointestinal disturbances.

“As nutritional deficiency continues, anatomical lesions develop and gross clinical signs and symptoms like glossitis, cheliosis dermatitis begin to manifest”, he said.

The dietician said management of these deficiencies involved adequate provision and ingestion of needed food and vitamins.

“The diet for the elderly should be followed strictly. Protein from fish, eggs and nuts should be taken. Intake of water is recommended to avoid dehydration.

“The process of ageing brings about physiological, psychological and immunological changes which influence nutritional status.

“There is no way to keep from aging, but healthy diet and lifestyle are capable of slowing its onset.

“It prevents its associated degenerative diseases such as arteriosclerosis, rheumatism, cataracts, cancer, and others which tend to increase in later years.”

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