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Nutrition for falls prevention in older adults

If you haven’t yet heard, our Improve Your Health campaign launched on 1st September, with a key theme of supporting older adults to eat regular, nutritious meals to fuel their bodies with the energy it needs to stay strong and active to prevent falls. Get involved in the campaign here! Good nutrition is vital for healthy ageing and older adults are encouraged to consume a balanced diet that includes a variety of food groups, enough water, and limited alcohol.

In particular, a nutritious diet that incorporates an adequate intake of vitamin D, calcium, and protein has an important role to play in improving muscle and bone strength, which makes nutrition an effective falls prevention strategy for older adults. See our Fuel Your Body page for health professionals for further information around the role of vitamin D and calcium in falls prevention and the Australian Dietary Guidelines for older adults.

Good nutrition is also beneficial to the other falls prevention strategies due to its positive impact on keeping a healthy mind, engaging in resistance training, and supporting the ability to perform daily activities and recovery.

In contrast, poor nutrition can cause health effects such as dizziness, weakness, light-headedness, reduced concentration and headaches; all of which can increase older adult’s risk of falling. It is important for health professionals to consider and address the possible underlying causes of poor nutrition in older adults; this can include:

  • Oral health and dentition problems
  • Swallowing difficulties
  • Poor appetite
  • Difficulties in purchasing and storing food
  • Inability to prepare meals
  • Social isolation and depression

Are you a health professional and interested in building your knowledge around the relationship between dietary intake and falls risk, screening for nutritional deficiencies in older adults, and nutrition-based strategies among older adults diagnosed with loss of muscle mass? Join us on Thursday 14 October 2021 for our training An Appetite for Change: Preventing Falls in Older Adults, with guest presenter Dr Marc Sim, Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Edith Cowan University. Register your interest here.

Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters
Injury Matters acknowledge the Whadjuk Noongar people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work, and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continuing connection to land, waters and community across Western Australia.