To live well and continue to perform our daily tasks requires adequate food and drink. Food and drink is a basic necessity for everyone, without a balanced varied diet the risk of nutritional deficiencies increase.
Nutritional deficiencies also known as ‘malnutrition’ is defined by BAPEN as:
“A state of nutrition in which a deficiency or excess (or imbalance) of energy, protein and other nutrients causes measurable adverse effects on tissue / body form (body shape, size and composition) and function and clinical outcome”
Here in Leeds, like the rest of the UK, our population is not only growing but also ageing. With 152,600 people aged over 60 and growing we are clear that ageing well is a priority and at any time in Leeds, there are over 16,500 malnourished people. Subsequently the Council’s breakthrough project ‘Making Leeds the Best City to Grow Old In’ provides impetus to tackle this problem.
The Older People Food Matters Group (OPFMG) established 2010 is a multi-agency group promoting food and drink messages relevant to older people and where necessary act. In an effort to ensure barriers to nutrition the OPFMG has developed the Leeds Food Consensus.
Leeds Food Consensus
Seeks to ensure consistent evidence based, person centred food messages for older people. The principles for all food related activity, to enable good health and wellbeing for older people, should focus on enabling, preventing, promoting and maintaining independence.
There are four key messages embedded within the consensus:
- Keeping properly hydrated – 6 -8 drinks per day are recommended for most people
- Eating for health – eating food appropriate to the stage of live based on the ‘Eatwell’ plate
- Being a healthy weight - to some this may mean weight loss, for others to stabilise or to gain weight
- Support and enablement - to enable safe eating and drinking through support and assistance as required
We encourage community based services or organisations (voluntary, health and social care) who provide food or promote nutrition to older people to read the ‘Leeds Food Consensus’ and additional information found in the download section. By supporting the consensus you will enable consistent evidence based messages relevant to older people to be promoted across Leeds.
How can you get involved?
The OPFMG has a diverse membership and we are passionate to engage with further community, health and social care organisations. Becoming a member of the group is a simple process and brings a variety of benefits for your organisation. Our most recent project is the ‘Nutritional Champions’ training and this short training aims to provide a member of your team with knowledge on the four key messages within the consensus.