Senior citizens can still be productive and happy; according to a DOST-FNRI study

Published June 16, 2019, 6:05 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Dhel Nazario

A recent study conducted by the Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) looked at the senior citizens basic day to day tasks whilst having a favorable viewpoint in life.

Hundreds of senior citizens await their turn to receive their quarterly social pension from the local government of Quezon City at the Quezon City Hall Grounds on March 12. The Commission of Population (POPCOM) said that the rising number of senior citizens is expected to exceed eight million by the end of the year, creating an aging population in the country. POPCOM added that the increase in figures will affect the economy as the government needs more funding for their medical and financial needs. (Mark Balmores)

The Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI) had an initial study on the profiling of senior citizens in the country.

It was followed by an in-depth study on the quality of life and functional capacity in relation with their nutritional status. The study was headed by DOST-FNRI’s Consuelo Orense, Supervising Science Research Specialist.

Interviewed regarding their current view on their Quality of Life (QOL), majority of the participants rated their quality of life (91 percent) and health (97 percent) as “average”.

The overall results showed that older persons in the study can still perform basic and instrumental activities of daily life irrespective of age, Body Mass Index (BMI) status and nutrition and health condition.

BMI is a simple index of weight-for-height that is commonly used to classify underweight, overweight and obesity in adults.

Self-rating of the quality of life was “average” implying positive outlook of participants.

Access to health services

With the number of persons aged 60 years and above rising, more resources will have to be allocated to older persons for them to avail of health and nutrition services in order to maintain good health and prolong life.

According to the study, energy and macro nutrient intake of older persons did not meet the recommendations of the Philippine Dietary Reference Intake (PDRI).

The PDRI is a comprehensive set of energy and nutrient reference values for the healthy Filipino population.

It showed that half of the elderly population in the National Capital Region (NCR) or Metro Manila is overweight or obese and hypertensive.

Majority experiences gastro-intestinal tract (95 percent) and vision (80 percent) problems, while one-third of the participants have arthritis, psychiatric and genito-urinary problems.

It is still recommended that health care and support services should be made accessible and nutrition and health education campaign should be designed for older persons.

The continued support of the family and community is also needed not only to address the nutrition and medical problems but also create a safe environment where older persons remain productive.