Healthy for the young is not healthy for the old

When we think of health, we must not think in one-size-fits-all. Research from Innova Market Insight, a world leading research institution, shows that “healthy” is not the same for young and old people.

Food Valley, NL, recently hosted a summit on Personalised Nutrition – Food for the Elderly with nutrition for the elderly taking centre stage. Among the many inspiring lectures and workshops on the importance of nutrition for the elderly, was a particularly intriguing presentation by Sarah Browner, MSc in Innovation in European Business, of Innova Market Insights on Healthy ageing: Health for all ages.

Healthy is not the same for young and old

Browner’s presentation focused on something that often goes unnoticed: the definition of “health” changes depending on our age. The infographic below from her presentation illustrates just this. What our bodies need in our 20s is unlikely to be the same in our 40s and even less true in our 60s. Statistics show, for instance, that skin health, weight loss, and immune defense are priorities for those under the age of 55, while alertness, cholesterol, and bone health are considered important to those over 55.

The industry need to step up 

Changing the way the industry looks at health is the key to creating healthy products for individuals of all ages. Adapting products down to ingredient-level to match the target consumer group’s age can ensure that consumers get the most health benefits out of products. As Europe’s ageing population grows, mainstream food and beverage manufacturers are rushing to respond to the needs of all age groups by focusing on the different needs that appear in different stages of life instead of simply creating a one-size-fits-all type of product.

Danish Food Cluster is part of the EU projekt INCluSilver, where we support and give funding to SME’s, who wants to develop personalized nutritional solutions for the elderly. Read more about the projekt here.

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