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Watchdog issues diet tips for over-50s

Food agency wants to tackle chronic diseases


A woman holds out a bowl of salad.

Britain’s food watchdog is issuing ‘straightforward, practical’ advice to the over-50s on how to eat more healthily.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says it wants to counter the belief among some older people that it’s too hard to change the habits of a lifetime.

Its leaflet – ‘The Good Life’ (a pdf document) – includes advice about the sort of diet that may help to prevent certain chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. Such a diet includes eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, and starchy foods such as rice and bread, for example.

The leaflet been issued at the same time as a survey of people aged 50 to 65 suggests the government’s healthy eating message isn’t getting through to everyone.

Healthy eating

The FSA poll of 472 people found that just under a quarter agreed strongly that life was too short to worry about what they ate.

Over a third also agreed strongly with the statement ‘I’ve always eaten this way and it’s done me no harm.’

But two thirds of respondents were confident they knew which foods to eat to keep their heart healthy, and over half said they ‘took care to eat the right foods’, as they knew this was important as they got older.

Chronic diseases

Rosemary Hignett, Head of Nutrition at the Food Standards Agency, said: ‘In many respects the results of this survey are encouraging as it seems our messages about healthy eating are getting through.

‘But the UK has some of the highest rates of chronic diseases in Europe, most of which are preventable though healthier lifestyles.

‘Some people may worry that it’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, or that healthy eating will impinge on their enjoyment of food.

‘But the straightforward, practical advice we offer doesn’t demand huge changes in lifestyle and, contrary to what many people may believe, it’s easy to eat healthily and enjoy your food.’

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