Study Reveals that Over 60s Have Unhealthiest Diet

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

A study has found that people aged over 60 have the unhealthiest diet, apparently as a consequence of their children leaving home.

Older people are said to be eating ready meals and snacks instead of home-cooked, healthy meals despite consuming a balanced diet for many years when caring for their children.

According to the Seven Seas study, 60% of participants admitted to missing breakfast at least once every week, whilst almost 80% said they skipped lunch at least once a week.

Helen Bond, consultant dietician for Seven Seas, said that the research didn’t come as a surprise to her. This is because people spend years worrying over the meals they serve to their children to set a prime example. However, once the children have moved away from home, there seems to be a large number of people who find it difficult to maintain their healthy diets.

She went on to say that over 60s must ensure they eat a healthy, balanced diet as missing meals can mean they lose out on important nutrients such as omega 3 and vitamin D. Both of these are fundamental in maintaining good health. She suggested that it may be worthwhile for this age group to enhance their diet with cod liver oil to replenish natural resources as they age. These nutrients can help to protect against a number of health problems.

Over 20,000 over 60s took part in the survey and 43% said that their diet wasn’t always as healthy as it could be, with 12% of those claiming their diet had worsened over time.

Of the people surveyed, 62% admitted that they skip a full meal, instead choosing a packet of crisps, slice of toast or even a cup of coffee or tea.

Almost 10% of those surveyed said they never sit down to eat a home-cooked meal and 1 in 20 said they only made an effort to cook when visitors came round.

48% said the main reason for eating a less healthy diet was because they didn’t need to worry about what their children should eat after they’d left home. Other reasons included not feeling as hungry anymore and living alone.

Ms Bond said that a vast number of over 60s are missing meals, with breakfast being the most common meal to drop. She finds this worrying as breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

She said people don’t always need to eat a large, home-cooked meal, but it is important to eat three varied and balanced meals every day in order to live well into old age and keep fit and healthy.

The survey also revealed that 1 in 10 of participants admitted to over-eating on a regular basis. 1 in 20 said they often under-eat. The results of the study suggest that the average person over 60 skips one evening meal every week, as well as two lunches and two breakfasts. 31% of those surveyed said it was easier to eat a snack instead.