WEDNESDAY, Nov. 28, 2018 (HealthDay News) — For very old adults, higher protein intake is associated with better disability trajectories, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Nuno Mendonça, R.D., Ph.D., from Newcastle University in the United Kingdom, and colleagues examined whether protein intake is associated with better disability trajectories in 722 community-dwelling older adults aged 85 years at baseline. Two 24-hour multiple-pass recalls were used to estimate protein intake. Disability was assessed as difficulty performing 17 activities of daily living.

The researchers identified four distinct disability trajectories: constant very low (AT1), mild (AT2), moderate, and severe (AT4). In models adjusted for selected covariates, each unit increase in protein per kilogram of adjusted body weight per day (aBW/d) was correlated with greater odds of AT1 and AT2 than AT4 (odds ratios, 7.97 and 3.28, respectively) during five years. Participants with protein intake of at least 1 g/kg aBW/d were more likely to be in AT1 or AT2 than AT4 (odds ratios, 3.65 and 2.12, respectively).

“The results support the consensus statements that protein intake in older adults should approximate 1.0 to 1.2 g/kg BW/d, which is within the acceptable macronutrient distribution range,” the authors write.

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