An African perspective on nutrition and ageing
Southern African Journal of Gerontology
Although the proportion o f elderly in African populations is much smaller than that in white populations , it is increasing. Since the huge majority o f Africans are in poor economic cir cumstances, questions arise as to how well they manage, par ticularly regarding their eating habits and nutritional state. On the one hand the limited information available indicates major shortfalls from international dietary recommended allowances o f nutrients. Yet, outwardly, elderly Africans appear to
... icans appear to manage better than would be expected. Unfortu nately, no cross-sectional nor prospective studies in this area have been undertaken on representative groups o f African elderly. In view ofthe increasing poverty ofthe populations o f most African countries, it would be o f value to learn from nutritional and clinical studies, o f minimum fo o d intakes which are still consistent with everyday good health. Important questions are: Do many Africans reach old age in view of their almost invariably poor environmental circum stances? How do they manage? What do they eat? What is the pattern of their health/ill-health? How do they regard life? What future research should be undertaken on them? I attempt to briefly answer the questions.