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August 2014 Issue

Older Adults Need More Protein

Current dietary recommendations for protein intake are not optimal for older adults, according to a position paper written by an international team of experts in the April 2014 Clinical Nutrition. Current daily U.S. protein recommendations are 56 grams for men 19 years and older, and 46 grams for women 19 years and older, based on 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, as recommended by the Institute of Medicine’s Dietary Reference Intakes. The position paper calls for a daily protein increase to 1.0 to 1.2 grams per kilogram for healthy adults older than age 65. For example, that’s 68 – 82 grams of protein for a 150-pound person. Higher protein intake may help combat muscle loss, which is estimated to be one to two percent each year after age 50. Along with the increased protein, experts also recommend daily physical activity, such as resistance training and aerobic exercise, for older adults for as long as possible.