Improving Protein Intake in Aging Adults Helps Lower Health Risks

Improving Protein Intake in Aging Adults Helps Lower Health Risks

Bournemouth University researchers have been investigating reasons why many older people aren’t getting as much protein as they should be.

The Study

As we get older, we need to be increasing our protein intake in order to help fend off issues associated with low-protein intake and aging, including a heightened risk of falls and fractures, a weakened immune system, and a higher risk of infection. Many studies have shown that older adults eat less than the necessary amount of protein, and the researchers at Bournemouth University have been investigating the reasons why.

According to lead researcher, professor Katherine Appleton, eating a sufficient amount of protein is necessary for our health as we get older, but many people don’t get enough. Options such as taking protein supplements or having fortified foods are often unpopular. Appleton wanted to find out how often people were eating animal-based protein, such as meat, dairy, eggs, and fish.

The researchers surveyed older adults living in the community and discovered that people were more likely to eat a variety of animal-based protein if they were delicious, affordable, and convenient to purchase and prepare. Appleton says, as we age, we may find it difficult to ingest certain foods—that affects what people choose to buy and eat.

What This Means

If older adults improve their protein intake, they can stave off future health risks. This can be achieved if people eat protein that tastes good, is convenient, is affordable, and is easy to prepare.

Appleton, K. M., “Barriers to and Facilitators of the Consumption of Animal-Based Protein-Rich Foods in Older Adults,” Nutrients, January 20, 2016;