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 1/5 and half of of all 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
Experiences with using persuasive technology in a diet trial for older adults
Laura van van der Lubbe, Michel Klein, Marjolein Visser, Hanneke Wijnhoven, Ilse Reinders
PETRA 2021: The 14th PErvasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments Conference
Part of the PROMISS diet trial was the persuasive technology sub study. For this sub study we designed a tablet application and foodbox that 48 participants could using during their diet trial for diet tracking. We studied the adherence (commitment to using the technology), protein intake, experience of dietary advice and technology, and the effect of gamification in our app on the protein knowledge of users. This paper presents the most important results.
Participants are positive about the tablet application, but negative about the foodbox. On average, participants used the tablet actively for 133 days. Participants stay committed during their use, 83% of the days that they used the tablet for were active days. We did not find a significant change in the protein intake of our participants, compared to participants without a tablet.
Based on these results we conclude that a diet tracking application designed for older adults is a feasible and appreciated tool to use within a dietary intervention study in older persons.
PRESS RELEASE: Older adults in Europe do not eat enough protein – the PROMISS project recommendations can help
The PROMISS (PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects) project presented its results in a hybrid conference on 25 June 2021. With the European population growing older, the challenge is to age healthily and actively. However, in Europe, between 20-50% of all older adults living at home are malnourished or at risk of protein energy malnutrition.
Based on the outcomes of the European-funded research project PROMISS (PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects), it was concluded that for optimal physical functioning, older adults should eat at least 1.0 gram protein/kg bodyweight/day. However, more than half of the older adults does not meet this requirement. Based on these and other results PROMISS developed optimized, sustainable and evidence-based dietary and physical activity recommendations to prevent malnutrition and support active and healthy ageing.
Based on scientific evidence, PROMISS recommends the following for older adults on:
- Consume more than 1.0 g protein per kg body weight per day as it benefits physical function;
- Consume at least 30 g of protein in one meal per day and, if possible, in two meals per day;
- Use protein-enriched food products to increase protein intake when appetite is poor or with a vegetarian diet;
- Increase protein intake gradually and use products with a high protein density, and especially high protein drinks, to avoid feelings of fullness and bloating.
- Older adults, their dietitians or health professionals should evaluate the protein intake with the Protein Screener at proteinscreener.nl.
A more sustainable diet
- Eat more plant-based protein such as legumes, cereals, nuts and seeds;
- It is not necessary to go completely vegan or vegetarian;
- Eat less animal based protein (such as beef, lamb, and processed meats) and choose chicken and pork – if meat is eaten;
- Fish should not be eaten more than once a week;
- If fish is eaten, eco-labels on certified fish products such as the blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo, and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) logo should be considered.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes per day, as it benefits physical function and quality of life, and helps to prevent frailty and protein-energy malnutrition;
- The longer, the more frequent, and/or the more intensive older adults are physically active, the more their health will benefit;
- Engage in activities that strengthen the muscles and bones, for example resistance training;
- Sedentary behaviour should be reduced as much as possible, as this lowers the risk of functional decline and frailty.
PROMISS (PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects) is a multidisciplinary international consortium that performed research on the prevention of malnutrition in older people living at home. The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, grant n° 678732.
More information about the project, scientific publications, practical tools, and explanatory videos about protein can be found on the PROMISS website: www.promiss-vu.eu
Recommendations and supporting materials for different target audiences are also available:
- Older adults (available in multiple languages)
- Health professionals (available in English and German)
- Dietitians and nutritionists (available in English and Dutch)
- Policy makers (in English)
- Food industry and SMEs (in English)
For more information or questions about the project please contact the project office at email@example.com.
PROMISS final conference – 25 June 2021, 14:00 (online)
PROMISS organises its final conference online on 25 June 2021 from 14:00 to 17:00 CEST. The conference will provide the opportunity to learn more about the importance of protein for older people, the PROMISS findings and evidence-based recommendations developed in the project. It will foster engagement between the PROMISS researchers and the target audiences and allow for interactive virtual exchanges.
A roundtable discussion with input from international experts will assess the importance of protein for older people. This will be followed by a plenary session on optimal protein intake for older people living at home. Three break-out sessions on specific protein-related topics are then held – conference participants get the chance to participate in two out of three as the same session will be run twice (also see programme below for details).
- Session 1: Eating protein in a environmentally friendly way
- Session 2: Older adults’ perspectives on protein – consumer insights
- Session 3: Supporting older adults to increase their protein intake
Registration: register for free (click here)
Who should attend:
- Researchers interested in protein malnutrition, and sustainable diets
- Health care professionals interested in supporting their patients in increasing their protein intake
- Dietitians and nutritionists
- Older people with an interest in healthy food and healthy ageing
- Policy makers working on nutrition, healthy ageing and sustainable food policies
- Food industry and small and medium-sized enterprises interested in developing protein (en)rich(ed) products
14.00 Welcome Marjolein Visser, Professor of Nutrition and Health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
14.05 PROMISS – the importance of protein for older people
Roundtable discussion with input from international experts
- Alfonso Cruz Jentoft, Professor of Geriatrics at Universidad Europea de Madrid
- Tommy Cederholm, Professorof of Clinical Nutrition at Uppsala University
- Dorothee Volkert, Professor of Clinical Nutrition in Old Age at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität
- Jürgen Bauer, Professor of Geriactric Medicine at Universität Heidelberg
14.20 Optimal protein intake for community-dwelling older adults
Marjolein Visser, Professor of Nutrition and Health at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
What is the optimal protein intake for older people in order to age healthily? There will be a brief introduction to the current protein intake among older people and the relationship between protein, muscles and loss of function in ageing.
15:00 Explanation of the 3 breakout sessions + break
15.15 Breakout session 1-3, round 1
- Session 1: Eating protein in a environmentally friendly way: What is the role of food production on the environment, what are sustainable sources of protein and how can you eat sustainably? You will get answers to these and other questions.
- Session 2: Older adults’ perspectives on protein – consumer insights: We will look at older people’s knowledge of protein, what their preferences are when it comes to protein sources and whether there are differences between different groups.
- Session 3: Supporting older adults to increase their protein intake: Questions that will be addressed in this session are: How do you calculate the right protein requirement for different people, what are the potential risks of more protein and what tools are available to help older people make good choices when it comes to protein?
15.50 Session 1-3, round 2
16.20 Protein quiz
The quiz will test your knowledge of protein and will be presented live. Will you be the one to win one of the great prizes?
16.30 Wrap-up and concluding words by the PROMISS Coordinator
16.45 PROMISS video
Highlights of the PROMISS experience and an overview of further information materials.