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Animal Protein May Slow Functional Decline in Older Men

Older men who consume high levels of animal protein have less risk of higher-level functional decline

MONDAY, March 17, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Among older men, higher intake of protein, particularly animal protein, is associated with lower risk of decline in higher-level functional capacity, according to research published in the March issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Eri Imai, Ph.D., R.D., of the National Institute of Health and Nutrition in Tokyo, and colleagues used food frequency questionnaires to determine nutrient and food intake for 1,007 community members (mean age, 67.4 ± 5.5 years). The authors assessed the association between protein intake and risk of higher-level functional decline.

The researchers found that, after adjustment for possible confounding factors, men in the highest quartile of animal protein intake were significantly less likely to experience higher-level functional decline than those in the lowest quartile (odds ratio [OR], 0.41; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.20 to 0.83; P for trend = 0.01). A similar association between animal protein intake and risk of functional decline was not found in women (OR, 0.76; 95 percent CI, 0.41 to 1.34; P for trend = 0.37). For either sex, no consistent association was found between plant protein intake and higher-level functional decline.

"Higher protein, particularly animal protein, was associated with lower risk of decline in higher-level functional capacity in older men," the authors write.

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