Paper Authors and Title

Megan Curran (Atlantic Technological University), Francesco Noci, “The nutritional knowledge, protein knowledge and protein intake of middle-aged and older adults in Connacht”


The prevalence of geriatric diseases is increasing (e.g., Sarcopenia). Sarcopenia is the age-related loss of muscle. Protein is a key nutritional area for management of sarcopenia. However, protein intake in older adults remains lower than recommendations, possibly due to inadequate nutritional knowledge (NK). Few studies have analysed NK in adults in Ireland. This study aimed to assess nutritional and protein knowledge (PK) in middle-aged (45-64 years) and older adults (65+) in Connacht, and its association with protein intake, socio-demographic and lifestyle factors.

108 participants (including 62 females and 46 males) were recruited. The General Nutritional Knowledge Questionnaire-Revised assessed NK, while questions based on previous studies was used to assess PK. A food frequency questionnaire estimated protein intake. Demographic data (e.g. age, gender, etc.) and lifestyle characteristics (physical activity, diet, and health status) were also collected. A statistical significance level of p<0.05 was used.

Limited knowledge was shown on fat sources and BMI. Females had significantly higher NK scores than males (mean 61 vs 55 p=0.003), and individuals with a 3rd level degree or higher physical activity had significantly higher NK scores. PK was generally poor for all respondents. Protein intake was below recommendations for older adults. Omnivores had significantly higher protein intake than other diet types (p=0.045). Additionally, higher BMI was significantly associated with lower protein intake (p=0.0302).

Future nutrition education programmes may focus on PK and NK in groups that scored poorly. Further large-scale studies should focus on NK and PK in Ireland and their association with protein intake.