Of the diseases that can affect how we age, malnutrition is not an obvious one. However, researchers say more and more older adults are malnourished, including people who may look healthy or who may even be overweight. Nutrition & Aging, NPT Reports’ latest Aging Matters documentary, examines the hidden epidemic of malnutrition and undernutrition among older adults in the United States. Aging Matters: Nutrition & Aging premieres Thursday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. on NPT. The documentary was produced by NPT senior producer LaTonya Turner and is introduced by Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kathy Mattea.
The Nov. 16 premiere of the documentary will be followed at 8:30 p.m. by the premiere of Aging Matters: Practical Nutrition, featuring Volunteer Gardener host and local food writer Tammy Algood in the grocery store and kitchen sharing nutrition and food safety tips tailored to the needs of older adults. Algood will meet local experts to learn about resources for accessing healthy foods in the community.
National reports consistently show that Tennessee is among the worst states (No. 46 in 2016) when it comes to percentage of adults age 60 and older who face the threat of hunger, what is known as “food insecurity.” “Food insecurity is not simply hunger,” says Lacey Russell, director of aging and nutrition at the Tennessee Commission on Aging & Disabilities, in the documentary. “Food insecurity is actually the thoughts and the feelings of not knowing where your next meal is going to come from, not knowing how you’re going to get to that next meal which can be very overwhelming.”
Aging presents other challenges to maintaining a balanced diet, including changes to how bodies process foods and nutrients, how our digestive system works, and how foods taste. Some older people develop difficulty swallowing. Others are not able to shop for or prepare meals, while others find the cost of groceries to be a deterrent, a combination that may lead them to resort to processed, sugar- and fat-laden foods – and that contributes to obesity and other health issues. The result of these numerous factors is that one in four older adults has some form of malnutrition, according to Dr. Heidi Silver, a Vanderbilt University professor and nutritionist featured in the documentary.
Aging Matters: Nutrition & Aging includes interviews with senior citizens and specialists in nutrition, obesity and gerontology. In addition to Russell and Silver, the documentary’s experts include Dr. Ron Aday, professor of gerontology and former director of the aging studies program at Middle Tennessee State University; Dr. Nadia Pietrzykowska, a New Jersey internist specializing in nutrition and obesity; and Sarah Downer of the Harvard Law School Center for Health, Law, and Policy Innovation.
Additional broadcast times for Aging Matters: Nutrition are below; the documentary will also be available for online viewing at wnpt.org/agingmatters/.
- Monday, Nov. 20, 8 a.m. on NPT2
- Tuesday, Nov. 21, 1 p.m. on NPT2
- Saturday, Dec. 2, midnight on NPT2
- Friday, Dec. 15, 12:30 a.m. on NPT
- Saturday, Dec. 16, 7 p.m. on NPT2
Additional airtimes for Aging Matters: Practical Nutrition are below; this program will also be available for online viewing at wnpt.org/agingmatters/.
- Monday, Nov. 20, 8:30 a.m. on NPT2
- Tuesday, Nov. 21, 1:30 p.m. on NPT2
- Sunday, Dec. 3, 12:30 a.m. on NPT2
- Monday, Dec. 11, midnight on NPT
- Saturday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m. on NPT2
Aging Matters: Nutrition & Aging is made possible by the West End Home Foundation, the Jeanette Travis Foundation, The HCA Foundation and Cigna-HealthSpring. Additional support provided by Lisle Parham Wealth Management of UBS Financial Services Inc., Jackson National Life Insurance Company and The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.