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

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ilianna Lourida, Professor Ngaire Kerse, Dr Nuno Mendonca, Emerita Professor Carol Jagger



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.Physical activity and protein intake are associated with ageing-related outcomes, including loss of muscle strength and functional decline, so may contribute to strategies to improve healthy ageing. We investigated the cross-sectional associations between physical activity or sedentary behaviour and protein intake patterns in community-dwelling older adults across five countries. Self-reported physical activity and dietary intake data were obtained from two cohort studies (Newcastle 85+ Study, UK; LiLACS, New Zealand Māori and Non-Māori) and three national food consumption surveys (DNFCS, The Netherlands; FINDIET, Finland; INRAN-SCAI, Italy). Associations between physical activity and total protein intake, number of eating occasions providing protein, number of meals with specified protein thresholds, and protein intake distribution over the day (calculated as a coefficient of variance) were assessed by regression and repeated measures ANOVA models adjusting for covariates. Greater physical activity was associated with higher total protein intake and more eating occasions containing protein, although associations were mostly explained by higher energy intake. Comparable associations were observed for sedentary behaviour in older adults in Italy. Evidence for older people with higher physical activity or less sedentary behaviour achieving more meals with specified protein levels was mixed across the five countries. A skewed protein distribution was observed, with most protein consumed at midday and evening meals without significant differences between physical activity or sedentary behaviour levels. Findings from this multi-study analysis indicate there is little evidence that total protein and protein intake patterns, irrespective of energy intake, differ by physical activity or sedentary behaviour levels in older adults.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Lourida I, Boer JMA, Teh R, Kerse N, Mendonca N, Rolleston A, Sette S, Tapanainen H, Turrini A, Virtanen SM, Visser M, Jagger C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Nutrients

Year: 2021

Volume: 13

Issue: 8

Online publication date: 27/07/2021

Acceptance date: 23/07/2021

Date deposited: 10/08/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2072-6643

Publisher: MDPI AG

URL: .276138

DOI: 10.3390/nu13082574


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Funder referenceFunder name
also supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, based at Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University
Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, contract No.678732.
Newcastle 85+ Study has been funded by the Medical Research Council, Biotech- nology and Biological Sciences Research Council and the Dunhill Medical Trust.
part of the EU-funded project PROMISS (“PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects in the EU”) within the framework of Horizon 2020