With the European population growing older, the challenge is to keep an increasing number of seniors across all European countries healthy and active. In Europe, between 13.5 % and 29.7 % of older adults living at home are malnourished or at risk of protein energy malnutrition. PROMISS aims to better understand and ultimately prevent protein energy malnutrition in seniors. Thereby, PROMISS will contribute to improve active and healthy ageing.
Nutrition for healthy ageing
Protein for a Healthy Future: How to Increase Protein Intake in an Environmentally Sustainable Way in Older Adults in the Netherlands
Alessandra C. Grasso, Margreet R. Olthof, Corné van Dooren, Roline Broekema, Marjolein Visser, Ingeborg A. Brouwer
The Journal of Nutrition
Eating more dietary protein than what is currently recommended is suggested to improve physical functioning and well-being in older adults. However, increasing protein intake is likely to have adverse consequences for the climate if the level of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) associated with various protein sources is not considered. Therefore, there is a need to identify changes in the diet of older adults that can increase their protein intake while reducing their diet’s GHGE.
In this study we used diet optimization techniques to identify dietary changes that simultaneously increase protein intake in older adults and reduce their diet’s GHGE. We used dietary data on 1,354 community-dwelling older adults (56-101 y) from the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam cohort to calculate the average intake of 254 food items (e.g. chicken breast) and 25 food groups (e.g. poultry). Starting from this average diet, we modelled several diets by applying nutritional, environmental, and acceptability conditions such as ‘the modelled diet’s GHGE needs to be 50% lower than that of the average diet’. Then we calculated the differences in intakes between the modelled diets and the average diet to determine what and how much change in food intake is needed.
We found that achieving a high-protein diet without considering GHGE resulted in a 5-12% increase in GHGE in men and 9-14% increase in women. To achieve a high-protein diet with a moderate GHGE reduction, meat intake needed to be reduced to the amount recommended by the national food-based dietary guidelines for men but no change in total meat intake was needed for women. Further, a replacement of beef/lamb and processed meat with poultry and pork was needed, as well as increases in whole grains, nuts, and meat/dairy alternatives and decreases in discretionary food products like sweets for both men and women.
In conclusion, meeting the protein requirement of the growing older population with reduced GHGE requires a change in meat type (and quantity for men), an increase in consumption of a variety of plant-proteins, and a reduction in consumption of discretionary food products.
A Poor Appetite or Ability to Eat and its Association with Physical Function among Community-Dwelling Older Adults: Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study
Milan Chang, Olof G. Geirsdottir, Lenore J. Launer , Vilmundur Gudnasson, Marjolein Visser, Ingibjorg Gunnarsdottir
European Journal of Ageing
Diet plays an important role in susceptibility to chronic diseases during the ageing process. However, a poor appetite or ability to eat and its association with physical function have not been explored considerably among community-dwelling older adults. The current study examined whether having an illness or physical condition affecting one’s appetite or ability to eat is associated with body composition, muscle strength, or physical function among community-dwelling older adults. This is a secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from the Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik Study (n=5764). Illnesses or physical conditions affecting one’s appetite or ability to eat was assessed with a questionnaire. Those who reported illnesses or physical conditions affecting their appetite or ability to eat were considered to have a poor appetite. A total of 804 (14%) individuals reported having conditions affecting their appetite or ability. The current study found that people with a poor appetite or ability to eat had a significantly lower fat free mass and body mass index, less grip strength and poorer physical function than those without any conditions affecting their appetite or ability to eat. The strong associations with physical function suggests that any condition affecting one’s appetite or ability to eat requires attention.
PROMISS is looking for a new EU project manager
Do you have experience with project management of EU funded research projects, and would you like to work in an international team of researchers on the Prevention of Malnutrition in Senior Subject in Europe?
FTE: 0.8 (scale 10)
Duration: temporary position until June 1, 2021 with the prospect of extension for a maximum of 4 months (October 1st 2021)
All details and how to apply can be found here: EU project manager PROMISS