Research addresses health in aging adults

Scientists representing universities throughout the country have teamed up for research and outreach to address ways to improve health disparities facing aging adults.

The multistate team will present their findings during a special symposium as part of the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics on July 23-27 in San Francisco.

The multistate project is designed to find new interventions and approaches to improve the nutritional health of older adults. Specifically, the research team is evaluating how lifestyle choices, such as diet quality and physical activity, impact food security and individual health and well-being.

The symposium entitled, “Successes in older adult nutrition and physical activity studies,” is the result of a USDA-funded multistate research project began in 1989.

Mississippi State University scientists are part of a team which also includes scientists from Iowa State University, New York University, University of Massachusetts, University of Rhode Island, and West Virginia University.

“Mississippi State is pleased to join with other universities to improve the health and wellness of midlife and aging adults through research and educational programming. Research has shown that many of the chronic diseases faced by this age group are preventable through diet and/or exercise,” said David Buys, assistant research/extension professor in the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station.

Midlife and older adults represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. This group also represents higher rates of obesity, chronic disease and disability than previous generations and younger adults.

The research examines three areas: molecular and mechanistic understanding of how nutrients and activity can influence age-related diseases, environmental factors that influence the adoption of health-promoting lifestyle changes, and lifestyle needs assessment and evaluation of lifestyle interventions that lead to measurable outcomes.

“This symposium highlights research from scientists with different specialties working on the common challenge of nutrition and physical activity among older adults,” said Buys, the symposium's chair. “Addressing these issues will extend the health and well-being of older adults, while also decreasing the public health burden that is associated with chronic disease.”

To find out more about the multistate research project, visit

Karen Brasher | Agriculture and Natural Resources Marketing

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