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Protein intake, physical activity and grip strength in European and North American community-dwelling older adults: a pooled analysis of individual participant data from four longitudinal ageing cohorts

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nuno Mendonca, Emerita Professor Carol Jagger



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


© The Authors 2022. Introduction: Higher dietary protein, alone or in combination with physical activity (PA), may slow the loss of age-related muscle strength in older adults. We investigated the longitudinal relationship between protein intake and grip strength, and the interaction between protein intake and PA, using four longitudinal ageing cohorts. Methods: Individual participant data from 5584 older adults (52% women; median: 75, IQR: 71.6, 79.0 years) with up to 8.5 years (mean: 4.9, SD: 2.3 years) of follow-up from the Health ABC, NuAge, LASA and Newcastle 85+ cohorts were pooled. Baseline protein intake was assessed with food frequency questionnaires and 24h recalls and categorized into <0.8, 0.8-<1.0, 1.0-<1.2 and ≥1.2 g/kg adjusted body weight (aBW)/d. The prospective association between protein intake, its interaction with PA, and grip strength (sex- and cohort-specific) was determined using joint models (hierarchical linear mixed effects and a link function for Cox proportional hazards models). Results: Grip strength declined on average by 0.018 SD (95%CI: -0.026, -0.006) every year. No associations were found between protein intake, measured at baseline, and grip strength, measured prospectively, or rate of decline of grip strength in models adjusted for sociodemographic, anthropometric, lifestyle and health variables (e.g., protein intake ≥1.2 vs <0.8 g/kg aBW/d: β= -0.003, 95%CI: -0.014,0.005 SD per year). There also was no evidence of an interaction between protein intake and PA. Conclusions: We failed to find evidence in this study to support the hypothesis that higher protein intake, alone or in combination with higher PA, slowed the rate of grip strength decline in older adults.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mendonca N, Hengeveld LM, Presse N, Canhao H, Simonsick EM, Kritchevsky SB, Farsijani S, Gaudreau P, Jagger C, Visser M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Journal of Nutrition

Year: 2023

Volume: 129

Issue: 7

Pages: 1221-1231

Print publication date: 14/04/2023

Online publication date: 06/07/2022

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

Date deposited: 03/07/2023

ISSN (print): 0007-1145

ISSN (electronic): 1475-2662

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0007114522002033

PubMed id: 35791789


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Horizon 2020
Marie Sklodowska-Curie