It is estimated that at the beginning of the 21st century there are 396 million people aged over 65, who account for 13% of the population in developed countries and 5% of the population in developing countries.
The population will continue aging as a result of the extended
life expectancy, advancement in medicine, better hygienic
conditions and adequate nutrition. However, the situation of each
individual will also depend on their way of life, particularly
nutrition, physical activity, smoking, stress, and the occurrence
and development of diseases.
Milk and dairy products have been revered for decades as a
source of nutrients, but recently we have witnessed a growing trend
of products with low or no milk fats. In recent years special
attention has been paid to the saturated fatty acids in diet, and
consequently in milk and dairy products, which has been often
misinterpreted by consumers. Thus, elderly people often omit
certain foods based on their personal judgement because they fear
excessive intake of fats, which is contrary to the dietary
recommendations for older age.
The latest study, the results of which were published in a
scientific journal in 2008, reconfirmed that such behaviour may
result in insufficient intake of essential nutrients, since milk
and dairy products are an important source of protein, minerals and
vitamins in the diet of elderly people and are significant for
healthy aging. In addition, dietary recommendations suggest a
greater importance of adequate intake of energy, protein and
micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) of milk in comparison to the
importance of avoiding saturated fatty acids.