DOI: 10.5176/2251-3833_GHC13.60

Authors: Dr.Nisha Sheen and Dr.S.Chellammal

Ageing is a complex, continuous, biological phenomenon which affects all living organisms and is related to the passage of time. Old age is the closing period in the life span. Old age is best defined as the age of retirement ie 60+.People during the sixties are usually referred to as “elderly”-meaning somewhat old or advanced beyond middle age. Elderly people vary more in their health status than do any other age group. Age 60 is usually considered as the dividing line between middle and old age

It is estimated that there are 416 million old people (aged 60 years and above) around the globe and by 2020, world's 11.9 per cent of population will be above 60 years. In India also the trend is the same. 8.2 per cent of the total population is above 60 years and the life expectancy is increasing gradually. Among the Indian states, Kerala has the highest proportion of elderly population (13{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465})and the growth rate among the aged is increasing higher and higher. (10.48 percent)).(GOI Census, 2001).

The problem of old age is now generally recognized as one of the most pressing domestic issues. It poses a whole series of issues-social, economic, psychological as well as political. It involves adjustment which the individuals must take to declining health, retirement from work and the attitude of the community generally to the growing number of the older people in its midst. Ageing creates problems for family, friends, government and for the individual himself. Increasingly, it is being recognized that the nutritional status of an elderly person is highly significant to that person's health and wellbeing. Among the states in India the highest proportion of the elderly population has been observed in Kerala (10.48 percent) showing decadal growth rate of 19.09 percent during the decade 1991-2001. (Srivastava & Misra, 2004).

The nutritional status of elderly is an important determinant of quality of life, morbidity and mortality. Knowledge on the nutritional status can be useful to nutritionists, community workers and doctors to work out an action plan to improve the nutritional and health status of the elderly. (Nutrition research newsletter, 2002 )

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