A new study shows that sensory impairment (loss of taste and smell perception) is associated with frailty in aging populations, which can lead to increased risk of fractures and loss of quality of life.
Loss of appetite and/or reduced food intake associated with ageing, has been suggested as a risk factor for frailty. Impairments of taste and smell perception in elderly people can lead to reduced enjoyment of food and contribute to the anorexia of ageing. This study found that taste and smell perception, particularly taste perception, were associated with a greater risk of frailty in community-dwelling elderly people. These results suggest that lower taste and smell perception may be an indicator of frailty in old age.
These findings present a potential opportunity for products and recipes with strong flavors and aromas targeted at an ever-growing population of 65+ year-olds globally. Enhancing the eating experience for those with diminished senses could lead to increased food intake, greatly improving likelihood for good quality of life and independence in later years.
For more information on nutrition and healthy ageing:
The Retiring Nature of Taste Perception by Satya Jonnalagadda, PhD, MBA, RD
Muscle Ageing – Nutrition Interventions During Adulthood by Sara Llamas-Moya, MSc, PhD
Nutritional Strategies to Promote Muscle and Joint Health by Barbara Lyle, PhD