An introduction to the Food-Based Dietary Guidelines for the Elderly in South Africa
Food-based dietary guidelines (FBDGs) are not a new concept and are being used in many countries to promote healthy eating and the prevention of diet-related chronic diseases. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recommended FBDGs as an approach to prevent malnutrition and promote healthy dietary behaviours in populations, taking into consideration local conditions, traditional dietary practices and socioeconomic and cultural factors whilst at the same time using evidence-based scientific principles. South Africa (SA) currently has two sets of guidelines, namely the paediatric food-based dietary guidelines and the South African FBDGs for the population aged seven years and older. The recognition that elderly malnutrition remains a major public health concern in SA led to the formulation of a specific set of guidelines for this vulnerable population group
based on existing nutrition-related health issues, local dietary habits and barriers to food intake experienced by those aged 60 and above. This introductory paper on the development of the elderly food-based dietary guidelines (EFBDGs) will be followed by six technical papers motivating why these guidelines are suited to address nutrition-related issues among the elderly in SA.
Keywords: elderly, food based dietary guidelines, development, South Africa
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