a major risk factor for functional decline and homebound status (Jensen et al., 2006). The baby boomers have a greater prevalence of obesity than any of their historic counterparts, and projections forecast an aging population with even greater chronic disease burden and disability.
Nutrition is a key component to promoting healthy and functional living among older adults. The 2000 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report The Role of Nutrition in Maintaining Health in the Nation’s Elderly: Evaluating Coverage of Nutrition Services for the Medicare Population highlighted priorities for enhanced coverage and coordination of nutrition services in the community setting. Little progress has been made toward meeting those priorities during the decade since the report was published. Nutrition services are fragmented and poorly integrated with other services. In addition, coverage and reimbursement continue to have serious limitations, thus increasing the possibility that older adults requiring nutrition services will fall through gaps in this tenuous service net.
In light of the increasing numbers of older adults choosing to live independently rather than in nursing homes, and the important role nutrition can play in healthy aging, the IOM convened a public workshop to illuminate issues related to community-based delivery of nutrition services for older adults and to identify nutrition interventions and model programs which promote (1) successful transitions from acute, subacute, and chronic care to home and (2) health and independent living in the community, as well as to highlight needed research priorities. It is envisioned that the workshop will improve awareness and understanding of technical and policy issues related to nutrition needs of older adults in community settings by fostering increased dialogue among health, nutrition, and social services policy makers and researchers. This foundation will facilitate better informed and more effective plans and decisions by government and nongovernment policy makers, implementing agencies, and others informed by the workshop and this summary.
The workshop, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, the National Institutes of Health Division of Nutrition Research Coordination and Office of Dietary Supplements, the Meals On Wheels Association of America, the Meals On Wheels Research Foundation, and Abbott Nutrition, was held on October 5–6, 2011, in Washington, DC. The workshop agenda appears in Appendix A. The IOMappointed workshop planning committee was chaired by Dr. Gordon L. Jensen of The Pennsylvania State University, who also served as the overall moderator for the workshop. Each member of the planning committee, listed in the front matter of this report, contributed to the substance of the agenda and moderated the presentations and discussions for the five sessions.
This report is a summary of the presentations and discussions prepared from the workshop transcript and slides. The report is organized accord-