Nutrition Education for Better Health

Published on : 1/25/23
  • What is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States? Unhealthy diets. Yet as millions of Americans sit down for breakfast, lunch and dinner, many either ignore or are oblivious to the enormous impact their food choices will have on how they age and the health problems they will develop over time. In particular, as Americans age, the poor dietary habits they practice while they are young and middle-aged transform them into seniors with chronic diseases that limit their ability to perform daily activities, reduce their quality of life and may cause them to lose their independence. Moreover, having two or more chronic diseases is associated with an increased susceptibility to cognitive impairment in seniors.

    Because aging is a contributing factor to the development of many chronic conditions, preventing or reversing disease and dementia may seem unfeasible, but improving dietary consumption can have a positive impact on health at any age. For senior living communities, an effective way to improve residents’ dietary intake is through nutrition education.


    The Gold Standard: Dietitians

    Dietitians are experts in food and nutrition who provide authoritative dietary advice and promote healthy eating habits. Through research and continuing professional development, dietitians stay abreast of emerging evidence and scientific breakthroughs in diet and nutrition. At senior living communities, dietitians are the gold standard for nutrition education because they also do the following:

    • Develop dietary therapy plans to manage residents’ health, memory, and any conditions they have
    • Advise residents on why nutrition should play a role in their daily food choices and how nutrition impacts their brains and physical health
    • Educate clinical and nonclinical staff on food and nutrition issues
    • Collaborate with culinary professionals to develop menus that address dementia, heart disease, cancer, malnutrition, overweight, obesity, and other conditions that are common among seniors
    • Support positive clinical outcomes


    Other Nutrition Resources

    To help Americans make better food choices, the U.S. federal government provides several free resources for nutrition education. Some of these resources are as follows:

    • U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provides science-based advice on which foods and beverages promote health and prevent disease. The guidelines are reviewed and updated every five years and reflect current findings in nutrition science. In particular, the guidelines are broadly based on studies that focus on the relationship between dietary intake and health. Although the guidelines are targeted toward nutrition educators, healthcare providers, policymakers and other health and nutrition professionals, they are accessible to everyone.
    • is a consumer-focused guide to healthy eating. Based on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, presents a simple graphic that illustrates what each meal of the day should include on a plate. The site provides dietary advice for every stage of life, including adults aged 60 and up, and recommendations for recipes, budget-conscious food shopping and customized eating plans.
    • Nutrition Facts label. The Nutrition Facts label is designed to provide information that will help consumers make informed decisions about the food they buy and consume. Every Nutrition Facts label contains product-specific information on serving size, calories, and nutrient content.


    Aging and poor diet are among the key factors that determine whether people age well or become unwell. Sodexo is the largest employer of registered dietitians in the United States. And many of Sodexo Seniors’ registered dietitians are certified in gerontological nutrition and dementia. Their expertise combined with other nutrition resources help seniors make better food choices so that they can live long lives with minimal or no periods of disease and/or disability.