Centre for Nutrition

Let them eat cake!

But elderly people can also eat more fish.


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Our most recent doctor Hanne Rosendahl-Riise has been interviewed by Morgenbladet about nutrition in the elderly which resulted in a very nice article!

Please find an English summary below. You can read the full article here (only in Norwegian).


Picture: The English writer P.G. Wodehouse and his wife Ethel enjoyed having a bit of cake in their lever, also at high age. Here are they photographed at Remsenburg, New York state in 1974, the year before Wodehouse passed away at the age of 93.

Elderly people often do not consume enough food simply because their appetite is lower. In general, it is unfavourable to lose weight when you are over the age of 65 because mostly muscle-and bone mass is lost. This increases the risk for hip fractures as Hanne describes in her thesis.

The most important is to consume enough energy with focus on protein and vitamin D intake. In her thesis Hanne conducted a literature search on the effect of vitamin D supplementation in the elderly. Unfortunately, a strong conclusion could not be drawn since several studies conducted their analyses in a different way.

Further, from a clinical study at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen it was shown that elderly people ate less and lost weight after experiencing a hip fracture. This also had an effect on the ability to walk. The awareness for this topic was highly variated throughout the hospital.

Finally, Hanne focused on the effect of fish intake on osteoporosis and hip fractures. Although the associations were weak, they showed that a higher fish intake resulted in increased bone density in women. A low intake seemed to give a higher risk on hip fractures among men. “But we have to take into account that the Norwegian population is a bit special because our fish intake is already quite high compared to other countries”, states Hanne.

In conclusion, it is safe to serve your grandparents some fatty fish for dinner. Concerning whether we can serve that cake to our grandparents when they are having coffee, Hanne’s answer is clear “Yes please!”.