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Tufts researchers update their food guide pyramid for older adults
Date:12/19/2007

Tufts University researchers have updated their Food Guide Pyramid for Older Adults to correspond with the USDA food pyramid, now known as MyPyramid. The Tufts version is specifically designed for older adults and has changed in appearance and content. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults continues to emphasize nutrient-dense food choices and the importance of fluid balance, but has added additional guidance about forms of foods that could best meet the unique needs of older adults and about the importance of regular physical activity.

Adults over the age of 70 have unique dietary needs, says first author Alice H. Lichtenstein, D.Sc., director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts (USDA HNRCA). Older adults tend to need fewer calories as they age because they are not as physically active as they once were and their metabolic rates slow down. Nevertheless, their bodies still require the same or higher levels of nutrients for optimal health outcomes. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults is intended to be used for general guidance in print form or as a supplement to the MyPyramid computer-based program.

In 2005, the USDA debuted MyPyramid, an Internet-based program capable of dispensing individualized dietary guidance based on sex, age, height, weight, and exercise habits. Lichtenstein and colleagues were concerned about computer use among older adults and the adaptability of MyPyramid to print form. The Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults is available as a graphic print-out with icons representing foods in the following categories, and fluid and physical activity:

  • Whole, enriched, and fortified grains and cereals such as brown rice and 100% whole wheat bread.

  • Bright-colored vegetables such as carrots and broccoli.

  • Deep-colored fruit such as berries and melon.

  • Low- and non-fat dairy products such as yogurt
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Contact: Andrea Grossman
617-636-3728
Tufts University, Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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