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March 2009

Resistance Training and Protein Intake Are Important for Healthy Aging

An estimated 45 percent of U.S. adults 65 and older suffer from age-related loss of muscle mass, referred to as sarcopenia.  Performing resistance exercises regularly and consuming adequate amounts of dietary protein from high-quality sources are two important ways for older persons to slow the progression of and treat this condition. Resistance training can help older people gain muscle strength, and increase whole body fat-free mass. It can also help frail elderly people improve balance and physical functioning capabilities. Resistance training usually involves using weights or some other form of resistance designed to improve an individual’s strength. It is also sometimes referred to as “strength” or “weight” training and it can include such things as lifting free weights, body weight exercises such as push-ups, and weight machines, to name a few examples.

Inadequate protein intake may cause the loss of fat-free mass and muscle strength. The Institute of Medicine has set the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein for all adults, regardless of age, at the equivalent of 0.8 g per kg of body weight.  However, there is not a consensus related to the protein needs of older persons.  Aging is associated with a variety of changes that might change the protein requiremenst of older adults.  Items such as declines in body composition (loss of muscle mass), physical activity, and total food intake may all contribute to changes in protein requirements.

Dr. Wayne Campbell has conducted studies examining both protein requirements and benefits of resistance exercises. A recent study examined the protein requirements  of younger and older adults.  His lab found that the requirement for total dietary protein is not different between healthy older adults and younger adults.  They also determined that dietary protein requirements do not differ statistically from the RDA.  In other studies, his team has found that increasing dietary protein intake over the RDA does not enhance muscle strength and size.

Research by Dr. Campbell has confirmed the importance of both performing resistance exercises and to consume enough high quality protein to keep from losing muscle mass as we age. 

For more information, contact Dr. Wayne Campbell, campbellw@purdue.edu

Abbott Nutrition Sales Competition

“What would you rather eat steak or hamburger?” was the opening line from the winning team of the first Abbott Nutrition Sales Competition held February 9, 2009.  Abbott Nutrition partnered with student organizations Pi Sigma Epsilon and the Foods and Nutrition Society to bring Consumer Sciences and Retailing (CSR) and Foods and Nutrition students an opportunity to experience a simulated inside sales call combined with the science of enteral nutrition. Twenty –three students from CSR and F&N participated in this valuable professional development opportunity.

The teams vied for the grand prize of $5,000 in scholarship money, a guaranteed interview with Abbott Nutrition‘s Inside Sales Division and the title of the inaugural Abbott Nutrition Competition.  Each team had 15 minutes to “sell” Glucerna 1.2 to their customers, dietitians in either an acute or long-term care setting.  The contestants were judged on their opening, their abilities to probe the customer for needs, use of sales materials, objection handling and closing.


Through this competition Foods and Nutrition students were exposed to a career option that many had not previously contemplated. Cat Blaney, a graduating senior in dietetics participated in the competition and despite not placing in the top three teams appreciated this experience.  "It was a great way to integrate what I learned in the classroom to a potential career path."  Brianna Jenison another senior in dietetics also had the same positive experience from the competition.  "This was a great way to see first hand how a sales pitch happens. You can't learn that in a classroom." 

According to Cat Blaney, a senior in Dietetics, "The Abbott Nutrition Sales Competition gave me an opportunity to learn about a terrific product, to network with professionals in my field and to discuss enteral feeding for diabetic patients with my professors."

For more information, contact Janelle Kennedy, jkenned@purdue.edu        

2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Released

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is designed to provide information and guidance on the types and amounts of physical activity that provide substantial health benefits for Americans aged 6 years and older. The main idea behind the Guidelines is that regular physical activity over months and years can produce long-term health benefits.

The Physical Activity Guidelines are new because they represent the first major review of the science on benefits of physical activity in more than a decade. A key concept in the new guidelines is that the more you do, the more benefits you gain while allowing people to design their own way to meet the guidelines. Physical activity recommendations for groups such as children and adolescents, adults, older adults, persons with disabilities, pregnant and postpartum women, and persons with some chronic conditions are provided.

Health benefits of physical activity as confirmed by research as part of the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans include the following: regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes; some physical activity is better than none; for most health outcomes, additional benefits occur as the amount of physical activity increases through higher intensity, greater frequency, and/or longer duration; most health benefits occur with at least 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walking. Additional benefits occur with more physical activity; episodes of activity that are at least 10 minutes long count toward meeting the Guidelines; both aerobic (endurance) and muscle-strengthening (resistance) physical activity are beneficial; health benefits of physical activity occur for children and adolescents, young and middle-aged adults, older adults, and those in every studied racial and ethnic group; health benefits of physical activity are attainable for people with disabilities and, the benefits of physical activity outweigh the risks of injury and heart attack.

For more information or to order the Guidelines, go to: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines

Foods & Nutrition Department
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Phone: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674

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