Dee Muszynski is a registered dietitian who works both at McMaster Children’s Hospital and in her own clinic providing a personalized approach to a healthy relationship with food. Dee’s overall topic was Nutrition and Exercise and how these together prevent disease and add quality to one’s life. As we age lots of things change in the body: muscle mass decreases; body fat increases; estrogen and testosterone decrease; abdominal fat increases; bone mass decreases; chronic disease increases; and in general our immune system slows.
However, Dee offered us hope and a way to stay healthy. Nutrition and exercise together can help prevent chronic disease. And even if we have had a “misspent youth “, it is never too late to build habits that keep us healthy. Small changes can help us reduce the incidence of diabetes, cancer, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.

Dee emphasized the importance of healthy nutrition. She advised that one should, in general, consume around 1600 calories/day (healthy calories). And she cautioned that the cumulative effect of even 100 extra calories a day will net 10 lbs. in one year. Being overweight can lead to hypertension, diabetes, and CVD, but being underweight can contribute to osteoporosis and fall fractures. She suggested that we learn to recognize nutritionally dense foods. Eat leaner cuts of meat, have two servings of fish/week, aim for 7 servings of fruits and vegetables/day (1/2 c. of cooked veg or 1 c. of leafy greens counts as one serving; a protein serving is the size of one’s palm). Try to have a protein serving at each meal. Be mindful of eating healthy fats, replace butter with olive oil and limit this to 1 Tbsp. when cooking. Decrease our intake of red meat. And for carbohydrates, limit these to 130 grams/day for older adults.
It is also important to hydrate. A simple way to evaluate whether one is sufficiently hydrated is to check one’s urine-- too clear, then too much water; too dark then too little; light yellow is just right!
Dee recommends taking Vitamin D, but believes a healthy diet will provide most people with adequate micronutrients such as calcium, B12, B6, folate, iron, and Zinc. Of course, one should follow the recommendations of their doctor as individual cases vary.
We should have 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week and engage in strength training 2x each week. Her final recommendations regarding healthy aging and disease prevention were: be social, move every day; don’t smoke; manage stress; eat a nutritious diet; and have a positive attitude.