Association of daily physical activity and sedentary behaviour with protein intake patterns in older adults: a multi-study analysis across five countries

Being physically active and eating enough protein can slow decline in muscle strength and physical function, and therefore contribute to healthy ageing. We wanted to investigate if there was a  relationship between being physically active or sedentary and the timing  of protein intake in older adults living in the community. We used data from five studies (Newcastle 85+ Study, UK; LiLACS, New Zealand; DNFCS, the Netherlands; FINDIET, Finland; INRAN-SCAI, Italy) including more than 3300 participants. We found that older adults with higher levels of physical activity were more likely to eat more meals containing protein, and had higher total protein intake during the day, although this seemed to be due to greater overall food consumption. Protein distribution was uneven across meals with most protein consumed at midday and evening meals, and this was true in both physically active and sedentary older adults. Overall, our results suggest that patterns of protein intake in older adults do not seem to differ by physical activity or sedentary behaviour levels.

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