A holistic approach to healthy ageing: how can people live longer, healthier lives?

P.C. Calder, S.R. Carding, G. Christopher, D. Kuh, S.C. Langley-Evans, H McNulty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Although lifespan is increasing, there is no evidence to suggest
that older people are experiencing better health in their later years than pre-
vious generations. Nutrition, at all stages of life, plays an important role in
determining health and wellbeing.
Methods: A roundtable meeting of UK experts on nutrition and ageing con-
sidered key aspects of the diet–ageing relationship and developed a consen-
sus position on the main priorities for research and public health actions
that are required to help people live healthier lives as they age.
Results: The group consensus highlighted the requirement for a life course
approach, recognising the multifactorial nature of the impact of ageing.
Environmental and lifestyle influences at any life stage are modified by
genetic factors and early development. The response to the environment at
each stage of life can determine the impact of lifestyle later on. There are no
key factors that act in isolation to determine patterns of ageing and it is a
combination of environmental and social factors that drives healthy or
unhealthy ageing. Too little is known about how contemporary dietary
patterns and sedentary lifestyles will impact upon healthy ageing in future
generations and this is a priority for future research.
Conclusions: There is good evidence to support change to lifestyle (i.e. diet,
nutrition and physical) activity in relation to maintaining or improving body
composition, cognitive health and emotional intelligence, immune function
and vascular health. Lifestyle change at any stage of life may extend healthy
lifespan, although the impact of early changes appears to be greatest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-450
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 3 Jun 2018


  • ageing, cognition, genetics, microbiome


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