As people age there is a tendency for them to take less exercise and for their muscle to be replaced by fat. This starts a vicious circle of tiredness followed by less exercise and loss of muscle and bone tissue leading to the inability to take more exercise.
This must be counteracted by a programme of exercise. There have now been many medical studies, including information from astronauts spending long periods in space, which show that only exercise that puts sufficient stress on the bone will maintain bone weight and muscle strength. If you don't use it you'll lose it!
The second priority for older people is to ensure that their digestive systems are functioning efficiently and not put under undue stress. The nutritional requirements for an older person are still similar to those of the younger adult, and this diet will ensure a stress free digestive system.
An active man or very active woman will still require three starch based meals a day, but fresh fruit and vegetables are just as important for their vitamin and fibre content as for younger people. The aim should be to increase exercise where possible to match these meals, rather than reducing meals to match a low rate of exercise.
The 1992 Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy recommended that older people should aim to eat meals based on starchy foods. They also particularly recommended oily fish as a source of vitamin D, and because the fish oils reduce the risk of thrombosis.
Regular exercise and this diet should ensure that any illness is not so severe, and recovery from illness or injury is more rapid.
This diet should minimize the risk of developing diabetes and other age related digestive disorders. It also helps to maintain the natural hormone levels in the body.
If exercise is reduced but a diet rich in fat and sugar is eaten, the excess is converted into body fat. Overweight adults are far more prone to develop adult onset diabetes, and complications such as heart disease, impaired vision and impotence.