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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #366047

Research Project: Epigenetic Regulation of Obesity

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Daily Protein Intake and Distribution of Daily Protein Consumed Decreases Odds for Functional Disability in Older Americans

item MCGRATH, RYAN - North Dakota State University
item STASTNY, SHERRI - North Dakota State University
item Casperson, Shanon
item Jahns, Lisa
item Roemmich, James
item HACKNEY, KYLE - North Dakota State University

Submitted to: Journal of Aging and Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/19/2019
Publication Date: 10/18/2019
Citation: McGrath, R., Stastny, S., Casperson, S.L., Jahns, L.A., Roemmich, J.N., Hackney, K. 2019. Daily protein intake and distribution of daily protein consumed decreases odds for functional disability in older Americans. Journal of Aging and Health.

Interpretive Summary: Protein intake is important to preserving skeletal muscle mass which is important for preserving functional capacity during aging. Recently, the amount of protein a person eats at each meal has been shown to be as important as the total amount of protein consumed every day. To determine the effect of daily protein intake and distribution patterns across the day on functional capacity we used data collected from individuals over the age of 60 during each of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys conducted from 2007 – 2016. Our results show that older adults who eat at least 0.25g of protein per kilogram of body weight when they eat a meal or snack decrease their odds of having functional disabilities by at least 40%. The more meals and snacks that include this minimal amount of protein the better the odds of not having a functional disability.

Technical Abstract: Although consuming protein may help to preserve function during aging, it remains unclear how meeting daily protein recommendations and consuming adequate protein across meals is associated with functional capacity. The purposes of this study were to determine whether daily protein intake and protein consumption across eating occasions were associated with functional disability in a national sample of older Americans. Methods: Data from 8,070 adults aged at least 60 years from either of the 2007-2016 waves of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were included. Protein intake and ability to complete functional tasks were self-reported. A daily protein recommendation of =1.0 g/kg/day was utilized. Eating occasions were categorized as breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack. The daily protein recommendation was then spread out across four meals, whereby protein intake of =0.25 g/kg/meal was used. Separate covariate-adjusted logistic models were conducted for the analyses. Results: Older Americans meeting the daily protein recommendation had 0.78 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.65-0.93) decreased odds for functional disability compared to those not meeting the daily protein recommendation. Relative to those with no occasions, older Americans meeting the protein intake threshold per eating occasion for one, two, three, and four occasions had 0.60 (CI: 0.38-0.95), 0.48 (CI: 0.30-0.77), 0.47 (CI: 0.29-0.77), and 0.39 (CI: 0.20-0.75) decreased odds for functional disability, respectively. Conclusions: Meeting daily protein recommendations and consuming protein across meals decreased odds for functional disability in older Americans. Our findings should help to inform healthcare providers with older patients and targeted interventions aiming to preserve function.