Aging Well: Understanding the Role of Protein to Maintain Muscle Mass and Function

The US population is aging rapidly. With increased age, there is a marked increase in healthcare utilization that correlates with increasing clinical diagnosis. Sarcopenia is a common clinical indicator of health status in adults. Sarcopenia is a loss of muscle mass and strength. The rate of decline differs across the population suggesting that modifiable behavioral factors like protein and lifestyle may be important influences on muscle function in older adult years. We will explore current protein recommendations by the Institute of Medicine and the Recommended Dietary Allowances. Both are arbitrary in considering the protein necessary to prevent functional decline with aging. This session is sponsored by the Healthy Aging Division.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explore the role of protein as a key nutrient in the elderly
2. Examine the loss of skeletal muscle mass and its role in aging
3. Identify our understanding of protein’s effects on muscle metabolism
4. Identify protein recommendations that provide improved health outcomes.

Kathleen T. Morgan, Dr., M.H., NDTR, Rutgers University/Rutgers Cooperative Extension