Q I’m 75 years old and work three days a week in my own business. I’ve taken up competitive Nordic walking and I have noticed my weight has gone down by five kilograms in the past six months. I follow a very low-fat diet my doctor gave me about 20 years ago. What can I do about this weight loss?
A It’s great to hear you’ve taken up a competitive sport.
Regular resistance exercise is good for maintaining physical and mental health. But you may be overdue for a nutrition warrant of fitness.
What is a nutrition warrant of fitness (WoF)?
Each year, we’re required to get a motor vehicle WoF. We may also review our insurance and financial investments. But do you think to check your nutritional requirements each year? Changes in diet to prevent heart disease or manage diabetes are interventions similar to being prescribed a medication. It’s best to review these prescribed diets when your health or physical activity needs change.
Why get one?
Dietary advice may change as your lifestyle or medical conditions change. Having an annual nutrition WoF check is one way of ensuring you get the correct nourishment. As you age, energy and nutrition needs change. If you’ve been following a very low-fat diet but are now exercising more, you may be able to liberalise your diet and enjoy foods you’ve previously been advised to avoid. Continuing to follow a diet that’s no longer right for you can do more harm than good.
New research can also change dietary advice. It’s important to have a nutrition plan that takes advantage of new research and meets the requirements for your age, activity levels and any medical problems.
How do you get one?
Talk with your doctor about your dietary needs or seek out a local dietitian who has a special interest in nutrition for seniors, who can review your diet with you.
Make a plan to get a nutrition WoF before the end of summer.
Further information is available online at:
Article sources and references
- Ministry of Health. 2013. Food and Nutrition Guidelines for Healthy Older People: A background paper. Wellington: Ministry of Healthhttps://www.health.govt.nz/publication/food-and-nutrition-guidelines-healthy-older-people-background-paper