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NewsBites January 2012 Issue

Tufts Unveils New MyPlate for Older Adults

Just as the federal government updated its food pyramid with the new MyPlate, Tufts nutrition experts have introduced a corresponding MyPlate for Older Adults. The new guide, which replaces the Modified MyPyramid for Older Adults, is the third such resource created by Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, and Helen Rasmussen, PhD, RD, of Tufts’ USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging.

“Although calorie needs decline with age due to a slowdown in metabolism and physical activity, nutritional requirements remain the same or in some cases increase,” Lichtenstein explains.

MyPlate for Older Adults provides examples of foods that contain high levels of vitamins and minerals per serving and are consistent with the federal government’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Unique components of the system for older adults include icons for regular physical activity and emphasis on adequate fluid intake, both of particular concern for older adults. Like the original MyPlate, fruits and vegetables make up half of MyPlate for Older Adults. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, icons also include examples of frozen, pre-peeled fresh, dried and certain low-sodium, low-sugar canned forms, which are equally nutritious while being easier to prepare, more affordable and having a longer shelf life. Suggested alternatives to salt, such as flavoring with spices and choosing low-sodium options, recognize the importance of older Americans keeping blood pressure in check.

To download the new MyPlate for Older Adults, visit hnrc.tufts.edu. For more on this new resource, see next month’s Special Report.

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