The WHO definition of ‘Healthy Ageing’ is ‘the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables wellbeing in older age’.
Healthy ageing means maintaining a healthy weight by having a healthy lifestyle involving good nutrition and regular exercise.
What is Body Mass Index (BMI)
Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat (whether you are fat or thin) based on height and weight. It allows health professionals to discuss weight problems more objectively with their patients.
How to measure your Body Mass Index (BMI)
So for a 74 kg person who is 1.6 m tall, the BMI is calculated as
What does BMI mean
Your BMI classifies you into one of several categories namely from underweight to obese.
Eating healthy means having the following:
- BALANCE (eating a combination of foods from ALL food groups
- MODERATION (eating the recommended portions)
- VARIETY (eating different food types from each food group)
It is quite easy to follow the general principles at home by following the Healthy Plate Guide. Half the plate should consist of vegetables, a quarter is protein and a quarter is grains. Gradually reduce fat, salt and sugar intake with each meal.
Try to opt for whole grains rather than refined grains as they are rich in fibre and anti-oxidants such as vitamins B & E which appear to be protective against heart disease.
Proteins such as fish, poultry or meat should fit the size of your palm.
There are many sources of proteins and the American Heart Association recommends eating fish (especially fatty fish) twice a week.
Vegetables should account for half your plate and should fit into both hands.
Practice eating 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables everyday as they are a rich source of vitamins and fibre (which can reduce constipation and reduce fat absorption).
Vegetables and fruits with colour contain phytonutrients which are rich in anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Our bone mass peaks by the age of 30 years old and as we age after that, our bone density gets less resulting in osteoporosis. Calcium and Vitamin D are 2 important components required for bone growth.
The daily requirement for calcium is higher for older women especially after menopause.
The daily requirement for Vitamin D is the same for male and female.
There are other essential nutrients such as magnesium and zinc which are necessary whereas sodium (salt) should be reduced in our diet as it can cause high blood pressure (hypertension).
Magnesium can be found in the following foods:
Ms. Ng Poh Mun