Dietary protein intake and transition between frailty states in octogenarians living in New Zealand

Ruth Teh, Nuno Mendonça, Marama Muru-Lanning, Sue Macdonell, Louise Robinson, Ngaire Kerse

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Adequate nutritional status may influence progression to frailty. The purpose of this study is to determine the prevalence of frailty and examine the relationship between dietary protein intake and the transition between frailty states and mortality in advanced age. We used data from a longitudinal cohort study of Māori (80–90 years) and non-Māori (85 years). Dietary assessments (24-h multiple pass dietary recalls) were completed at the second year of follow-up (wave 2 and forms the baseline in this study). Frailty was defined using the Fried Frailty criteria. Multi-state modelling examined the association of protein intake and transitions between frailty states and death over four years. Over three quarters of participants were pre-frail or frail at baseline (62% and 16%, respectively). Those who were frail had a higher co-morbidity (p < 0.05), where frailty state changed, 44% showed a worsening of frailty status (robust → pre-frail or pre-frail → frail). Those with higher protein intake (g/kg body weight/day) were less likely to transition from robust to pre-frail [Hazard Ratio (95% Confidence Interval): 0.28 (0.08–0.91)] but also from pre-frail to robust [0.24 (0.06–0.93)]. Increased protein intake was associated with lower risk of transitioning from pre-frailty to death [0.19 (0.04–0.80)], and this association was moderated by energy intake [0.22 (0.03–1.71)]. Higher protein intake in this sample of octogenarians was associated with both better and worse outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2843
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2021


  • Frailty
  • Indigenous health
  • Mortality
  • Multi-state modelling
  • Protein deficiency


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