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Tasty Tips for Active Aging

By Office of Communication Services    Published on 12/23/2013 More stories >>

Joannie Dobbs and Alan
Titchenal

As a person ages, it becomes both more important and more difficult to meet essential nutrient needs. While there are several reasons that seniors find it challenging to eat as much or as healthfully as when they were younger, their protein, vitamin, and mineral needs don’t decrease—in fact, some nutrient needs may even increase. Since it’s common for some key sources of nutrients to be labeled as “bad” or “unhealthy,” Joannie Dobbs and Alan Titchenal, faculty in the Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences department, created the concept of a “Got Nutrients?” website that explores the “Intergenerational Nutrition Essentials for Health” (www.gotnutrients.net), in collaboration with the Honolulu Subarea Health Planning Council.

Rather than continue to label foods as “good” and “bad,” these two certified nutrition specialists are working to bridge the nutrition knowledge gap with a website that provides a daily nutrition tip (also emailed to subscribers), with links to both consumer-oriented and research-based articles that provide more in-depth information. The “Got Nutrients?” website has almost five years of nutrition tips archived on the site and indexed by categories.

The “Got Nutrients?” website
offers nutrition and health information for seniors.

The “Got Nutrients?” website offers nutrition and health information for seniors.

Now numbering over 1,830, the tips form a compendium of helpful information delivered straight to those who need it. Recent tips describe how a combination of lean protein and strength training can help older adults to retain muscle mass, a common problem in aging, and explain that eating two or more servings of oily fish per week can reduce the risk of stroke, a benefit interestingly not realized from taking fish oil supplements. It’s simple information, easy to use, and backed by scientific studies.

Twice a year, the two also contribute to the “Young at Heart” column in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, dealing with health and lifestyle issues for those over 55. The latest columns www.nutritionatc.hawaii.edu/YoungHeart/youngheart.htm) have dealt with topics such as macular degeneration, how to purchase dietary supplements, and the need for caregivers also to take care of themselves, lest they experience burnout and health issues of their own. Because those of all ages can stay young at heart, and Dr. Titchenal and Dr. Dobbs help show how it’s done.