Geriatric Nutrition


The CU “Geriatric nutrition” has the main objective of transmitting knowledge about changes in anatomy and physiology of the elderly patient and the respective pathologies associated with aging. It is intended that students identify the effects of the aging process on critical organ systems and integrate nutritional skills to prevent and treat the geriatric patient.
At the end of the course, students should be able to:
a)  Understand biopsychosocial aspects of ageing and its relationship with nutrition.
b)  Identify and characterize the metabolic and biologic specificities and nutritional needs of the elderly population.
c)  Understand the challenges of an ageing population and current public health policies and intervention programmes for older adults.
d)  Recognize the role of the nutrition professional within these policies and programs and as a promoter of healthy aging in the population.
e) Outline an individualized nutritional care plan, according to an integrated multi-professional approach.
f) Critically comment scientific articles and present and discuss a scientific topic.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Conceição Calhau


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





• Mahan LK, Raymond JL. Krause's Food & the Nutrition Care Process. St. Louis, Missouri, 2017.
• Bales CW, Locher JL, Saltzman E. Handbook of Clinical Nutrition and Aging: Humana Press, 2015.
• de Cabo R, Le Couteur DG. The Biology of Aging. In: M-H Education, editor.  Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 2018.
• Escott-Stump S. Nutrition and diagnosis-related care: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.
• Insel P, Ross D, McMahon K, Bernstein M. Discovering nutrition. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning   2019.

Teaching method

The course is organized in lectures and theoretical-practical classes: 2 weekly lectures for all students with a duration of 50 min each; 1 theoretical-practical class per week of 1,5 hrs, in classes with a maximum of 15-20 students. The theoretical-practical classes are carried out in classrooms where “case studies” will be discussed or “journal club” presented.

Evaluation method

The evaluation has a practical component and a final exam, both graded from 0 to 20. The assessment of the theoretical-practicals is continuous, corresponds to 40% of the final grade, and takes into account the following criteria:
- Performance and attendance:
    Participation: active role in promoting debate and discussion during the theoretical-practical classes (e.g. by asking relevant questions);
- Quality of practical reports and/or presentations of "case studies" and "Journal club":
    Critical thinking: demonstration of reasoning and critical skills during discussions and presentations;
- Attitude and knowledge demonstrated by the student:
    Demonstration of knowledge acquisition when questioned by the professor;

The final exam is 60% of the final grade, is a multiple-choice written exam, and covers all the lectures and theoretical-practical topics. The presence in the examination is conditional to attendance of at least 2/3 of the practical classes and a theoretical-practical grade of at least 9.5.

Subject matter

Lectures (28h)
1. Aging (biological vs chronological, physiological vs pathophysiological)
2. Geriatric nutrition and public health: The aging population, challenges, national policies and programs. The role of the nutritionist in these policies and programs and as a promoter of healthy aging in the population.
3. Research in geriatric nutrition: fundamental / experimental research and clinical research.
4. Screening and Nutritional Assessment.
5. Nutritional needs of the geriatric population.
6. Clinical nutrition: The role of the geriatric nutritionist and integration in a multidisciplinary team.
7. Malnutrition.
8. Fundamentals of nutrition and geriatric syndromes: eye aging; oral health; muscle metabolism and functional status (e.g. sarcopenia, dinapenia); endocrine function I (e.g. adipose tissue, obesity); endocrine function II (e.g. diabetes, metabolic syndrome); gastrointestinal function (e.g. dysphagia, constipation); bone metabolism (e.g. osteoporosis); heart; skin and wounds (e.g. pressure ulcers); urinary system; malnutrition and immune system; brain (e.g. cognitive decline, neuropsychiatric comorbidities); pain (e.g., low back pain, osteoarthritis, headache).
9. Nutrition in palliative care.
10. Nutritional Supplements.
11. Drug-nutrient interactions.
12. Nutritional Discharge Planning: nutrition education, counseling and care management.
13. Physical activity and exercise: important supplements to nutrition.
14. Anti-aging effects of nutritional modification: scientific evidence of caloric restriction.

Theoretical-Practical classes (21h)
15. Discussion of clinical cases and presentation and discussion of scientific articles (“Journal club”).


Programs where the course is taught: