Nutricia and the Global Coalition on Aging to jointly fight ageism
The number of older persons worldwide is set to more than double to over 2 billion in 20501. To achieve individual and societal goals of aging well and in good health, it is profoundly important to overcome the false, ageist assumptions that a range of debilitating, costly conditions are an inevitable part of aging.
The World Health Organization’s 2021 Global Report on Ageism found one in two people globally hold moderately or highly ageist attitudes. Ageism affects all of us – even children as young as four years old can become aware of their culture’s age-related stereotypes2. It is even embedded in our healthcare systems, and can impact on how people are treated when they need care.
Certain health conditions, such as losing weight or muscle mass, are often seen as an inevitable part of aging. As a result, the root-cause of these conditions might not be addressed. The impact can be devastating. Individuals may lose both mobility and independence, while healthcare systems see costs soar. These consequences could be reduced with a concerted effort to tackle ageism and break with ageist notions of what it means to grow older.
Recognizing the gravity of the problem, Nutricia and the Global Coalition on Aging (GCOA) have a shared goal of enabling people to age in good health. This International Day of Older Persons (1 October), we are issuing a joint call to action for leaders across society to break preconceived, ageist notions of what it means to grow older and promote investment in nutrition as part of integrated care systems to enable people to age in good health.
One of our key focus areas is nutrition, a powerful tool in addressing some of the conditions associated with aging. Good nutritional care can also contribute towards the long-term sustainability and affordability of healthcare. In fact, medical nutrition has been found to achieve 12% average cost saving compared to standard care across a broad range of patient groups3.
Together with the GCOA, we want to ensure medical nutrition is recognised as a key lever to support intrinsic capacity* and functional ability. To help achieve this, we call for systems-wide reforms to include nutrition as part of integrated healthcare provision, to improve health for all as we age.
Read the full call to action here
*Intrinsic capacity is a term coined by the WHO to describe the mental and physical capacities that people have, including their ability to walk, think, see, hear and remember4. The level of intrinsic capacity is influenced by several factors such as the presence of diseases, injuries and age-related changes, as well as the physical and social environment that a person lives in.
- International Day of Older Persons. United Nations. Available from: https://www.un.org/en/observances/older-persons-day Accessed September 2022
- Aging: Ageism. World Health Organization. Available from: https://www.who.int/news-room/questions-and-answers/item/ageing-ageism Accessed September 2022
- Ljungqvist O, et al, Nutr Hosp 24, 368-370.
- Healthy aging and functional ability. World Heart Organization. 2020. Available at: https://www.who.int/philippines/news/q-a-detail/healthy-ageing-and-functional-ability. Accessed September 2022.