By the time we reach adulthood, the majority of our growth and development will be well and truly over, meaning the focus of nutrition can now shift to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle. In doing this, adults will be able to keep the risk of developing age and weight related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes to an absolute minimum.
Adults should really know and understand their dietary needs by this stage of their lives. The high number of adults who are clued up about what they should be eating unfortunately does not correlate with the number of adults who are actually implementing this knowledge, with many consuming too much of the wrong things such as saturated fat, sugar and salt.
Adults who are serious about achieving a healthier lifestyle need to be proactive and use their knowledge of food and nutrition to help them on their way towards their goals.
Older adults and the elderly
According to 2010 mid-year population estimates from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), in the 25 years between 1984 and 2009, the percentage of the population aged 65 and over increased by 1 per cent, from 15 per cent in 1984 to 16 per cent in 2009 (an increase of 1.7 million people).
The same figures also show that the biggest increase has been among those aged over 85, with the number rising from 660,000 in 1984 to 1.4 million in 2009. The ONS estimate that by 2034, the number of individuals over the age of 85 will be 2.5 times greater than in 2009, reaching 3.5 million and making up 5 per cent of the total population.
Though it is positive to see that more people are reaching retirement age and older adults are living longer, in the future the UK's ageing population may result in greater numbers in ill health which will subsequently put pressure upon care services.
The nutritional needs and dietary requirements of older adults are quite different to that of young and middle-aged adults, and require a different approach. Whilst many older and elderly adults attempt to keep as