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Achieving Optimal Nutrition and Physical Fitness in Later Life

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Elderly individuals are at increased nutritional risk caused by the normal changes of aging (e.g., loss of lean muscle and bone mass, decline in immune function and oral health) (Morley 2001) as well as the difficulties associated with chronic and acute medical conditions (Chernoff 2005). Age-related changes lead to a variety of problems with eating, including difficulties with chewing, swallowing, digestion, and absorption of nutrients. For example, atrophic gastritis occurs in 10%–30% of adults over age 50 years, reducing the absorption of vitamin B12 and mineral nutrients that require an acid environment for optimal absorption (Ho et al. 1999).

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