Older adults in Europe eat too little protein. PROMISS conference presents recommendations
On 25 June 2021, the PROMISS (PRevention Of Malnutrition In Senior Subjects) project presented its results in a hybrid conference. With the European population growing older, the challenge is to keep an increasing number of older people healthy and active. However, in Europe, more than 1 in 4 older people living at home does not eat enough protein.
The conference provided the opportunity to learn more about the importance of protein for older people, the PROMISS findings and evidence-based recommendations developed in the project.
A roundtable discussion led by PROMISS Coordinator Marjolein Visser, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, with input from international experts Alfonso Cruz Jentoft, Universidad Europea de Madrid, Dorothee Volkert, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, and PROMISS partners Marian de van der Schueren, HAN University and Marcelo Tyszler, Blonk Consultants, which assessed the importance of protein for older people.
During the plenary session on optimal protein intake for older people living at home, Marjolein Visser emphasized the PROMISS findings that for optimal physical functioning, older people should eat at least 1.0 gram protein per kg bodyweight per day. Addressing questions from the audience helped to further clarify how to best reach that intake in practice.
Going into more detail on specific protein-related topics, three parallel break-out sessions were held:
The session “Eating protein in an environmentally friendly way” presented by Alessandra Grasso and Ingeborg Brouwer (both Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam) looked at the environmental impact of different protein sources and how to optimize your diet in a sustainable way by eating more plant-based protein and replacing beef or lamb with poultry.
The session led by Christine Yung Hung (Ghent University) and supported in the studio by Annet Roodenburg and Joost Linschooten (both HAS University) focused on “Older adults’ perspectives on protein – consumer insights”. The presentation covered multiple aspects such as behavioural, physiological and social factors that shape protein intake, as well as knowledge about and acceptance of various dietary proteins.
Barbara van der Meij and Marije Block (both HAN University) dove into “Supporting older adults to increase their protein intake” in their session. They presented practical tips, answered questions from the audience and showed the winners of the PROMISS high-protein recipe for older adults competition.
A quiz on their protein knowledge concluded the conference and further engaged participants in an interactive manner.
Anyone interested in (re)visiting the conference sessions, the recordings will be made available soon on the PROMISS website www.promiss-vu.eu.
You can also find all PROMISS recommendations on protein intake and healthy ageing tailored to older people, health professionals, dietitians, food industry and policy makers on the PROMISS website, including brochures, a protein table or short explainer videos.