A new ADI report highlights that undernutrition is a major problem among people with dementia and stresses the importance of recognising nutrition as a potential key factor in the wellbeing of people with dementia.
Research reviewed in the report finds that 20-45% of those with dementia in the community experience clinically significant weight loss over one year. The report reviews existing research on dietary factors across the life course that might increase or decrease the risk of developing dementia in later life. While obesity in mid-life may be a risk factor for developing dementia in late life, weight loss tends to become a more significant issue in the decade leading up to the clinical onset of the disease and accelerates thereafter.
The report also details actions that could improve the nutrition of people with dementia through diet and external factors such as modifying the mealtime environment, and supporting and training carers. Given the evidence for effective interventions, there is much untapped potential to improve the food intake and nutritional status of people with dementia.
Source: Alzheimer Disease International