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Full of protein to preserve the mobility of seniors

It is well known that the older the age, the more the risk of dependence and frailty increases. Therefore, carrying out preventive actions through simple physical exercises helps maintain the muscles of the body. What if diet also played a role in preventing mobility in the elderly  ? This is what suggests a recent American study according to which an insufficient consumption of proteins could slow down the mobility of the elderly subject .


The benefit of a sufficient protein intake

To carry out their research, the scientists calculated the protein intake (g / kg of body weight / day) of seniors at baseline using a food frequency questionnaire consisting of 108 questions. Protein consumption has been classified into three categories:

  1. Superior: consumption ≥ 1.0 g / kg / day
  2. Average: consumption between 0.7 and 1 g / kg / day
  3. Lower: consumption <0.7 g / kg / day

The researchers then assessed the participants’ mobility limitations on a semi-annual basis based on their testimonies about the difficulties they had encountered while trying to walk a distance of 402 meters or when trying to climb a staircase of 10 steps. It should be noted that the material nature of this limitation could only be attributed following 2 consecutive half-yearly reports.

The research team also took into account the influence of different factors: demographic data, behavioral factors, possible chronic diseases, total energy intake and height. The association between protein intake and limitation of mobility was assessed by means of an analysis based on the Cox model.

To know ! The Cox model is an analysis method which allows the simultaneous consideration of several variables to explain the occurrence of an event.

The study thus demonstrated the following results:

  1. the mean protein intake was 0.91 ± 0.38 g / kg body weight / day but in 43% of cases the declared values ​​were lower than those defined in the recommendations (<0.8 g / kg / j).
  2. a significant limitation of mobility set in during the 6 years of follow-up in 35.3% of the participants.
  3. compared to the higher consumption category, lower consumption categories were associated with a higher risk of mobility limitation.

As the results of this study suggest that insufficient protein consumption may promote limited mobility in the elderly, the researchers recommend protein consumption greater than 1.0 g / kg / d for the age group explored ( 70-79 years), in order to oppose the decline in physical performance .

Encouraging seniors to consume protein therefore seems essential to prevent the risk of dependence and fragility of an increasingly aging population which tends, with age, to shun foods that are rich in it.

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