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NUTRISENEX — Result In Brief

Project ID: 506382
Funded under: FP6-FOOD
Country: Austria

Helping hand for the elderly

There is a pressing need to upgrade nutrition for Europe's ageing population. A recent EU initiative has made significant headway towards achieving this goal.
Helping hand for the elderly
The proportion of old citizens in Europe is increasing and mechanisms must be developed to support the multitudes of elderly people in many ways, from medical care to nutrition. The EU-funded project Nutrisenex targeted one important area related to ageing populations. It looked at nutrition of the most frail in elderly groups to improve quality of life, reduce public health costs, prevent nutrition-related diseases and promote healthier food consumption.

By studying elderly citizens' dietary requirements, nutritional shortcomings and vulnerabilities to disease, researchers could develop healthy food products that match the ageing population's altered sensory perceptions and needs. To achieve this, the team began by mapping current research on the topic and identifying topics for future research projects.

The project brought European researchers and experts from universities, food institutes and industry together to discuss elderly nutrition, ageing, chemoreception, changes in sensory capabilities, food choices and lifestyle. In parallel, the project examined food provision legislation at local, national and European levels to assess strengths, weaknesses and areas for further investigation.

Moreover, Nutrisenex built a database of food producers, manufacturers, research institutions and non-governmental agencies related to nutritional, gerontological and food research. It then produced a report on how to promote foods that encourage well-being and long life in the elderly. The project also produced guidelines for homecare stakeholders, including managers, nurses, cooks and relatives – a move that will have a positive impact on elderly nutrition.

The highlight of Nutrisenex involved articulating important findings on industrially relevant research and technological development (RTD). General results were disseminated through the project's website, technology transfer workshops, conferences and trade fairs. This valuable pool of knowledge and all the accompanying recommendations cannot have come sooner, in light of our rapidly ageing population.

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