DIET DURING YOUNG AND MIDDLE ADULTHOOD
Young adulthood is a time of excitement and exploration. The age range runs from about 18 to 40 years of age. Individuals are alive with plans, desires, and energy as they begin searching for and finding their places in the main-stream of adult life. They appear to have boundless energy for both social and professional activities. They are often interested in exercise for its own sake and may participate in athletic events as well.
The middle period ranges from about 40 to 65 years of age. This is a time when the physical activities of young adulthood typically begin to decrease, resulting in lowered caloric requirement for most individuals.
Table 14-1 can help individuals estimate energy (calorie) requirements. During these years, people seldom have young children to supervise, and the strenuous physical labor of some occupations may be delegated to younger people. Middle-aged people may tire more easily than they did when they were younger. Therefore,they may not get as much exercise as they did in earlier years. Because appetite and food intake may not decrease, there is a common tendency toward weight gain during this period.
During young to middle adulthood, the beginnings of osteoporosis may also be evident. A diet rich in calcium, vitamin D, and fluoride is thought to help prevent osteoporosis.
The onset of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) usually occurs between the ages of 30 to 50 and will affect approximately 1% of the population (2.1 million), women outnumbering men three to one. RA affects the wrists, joints of the fingers other than those closest to the fingernail, hips, knees, ankles, elbows, shoulders, and necks. Although researchers have determined that diet changes have no effect on rheumatoid arthritis, it is still important to maintain a healthy diet that includes adequate calcium and protein. A multiple vitamin containing vitamin D and a calcium supplement should be taken daily. Omega-3 fatty acids have been helpful in reducing inflammation, but a physician should be consulted before taking this supplement.