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From lifespan to healthspan: the role of nutrition in healthy ageing

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John Mathers



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Across the globe, there has been a marked increase in longevity, but significant inequalities remain. These are exacerbated by inadequate access to proper nutrition and health care services and to reliable information to make the decisions related to nutrition and health care. Many in economically developing as well as developed societies are plagued with the double-burden of energy excess and undernutrition. This has resulted in mental and physical deterioration, increased non-communicable disease rates, lost productivity, increased medical costs and reduced quality of life. While adequate nutrition is fundamental to good health at all stages of the life course, the impact of diet on prolonging good quality of life during ageing remains unclear. For progress to continue, there is need for new and/or innovative approaches to promoting health as individuals age, as well as qualitative and quantitative biomarkers and other accepted tools that can measure improvements in physiological integrity throughout life. A framework for progress has been proposed by the World Health Organization in their Global Strategy and Action Plan on Ageing and Health. Here, we focused on the impact of nutrition within this framework, which takes a broad, person-centred emphasis on healthy ageing, stressing the need to better understand each individual’s intrinsic capacity, their functional abilities at various life stages, and the impact of their mental, and physical health, as well as the environments they inhabit.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Wickramasinghe K, Mathers JC, Wopereis S, Marsman DS, Griffiths JC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Nutritional Science

Year: 2020

Volume: 9

Online publication date: 24/08/2020

Acceptance date: 14/07/2020

Date deposited: 14/10/2020

ISSN (electronic): 2048-6790

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/jns.2020.26


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