Objective: The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of a nutrition information program targeting protein consumption in elderly people.
Design and intervention: Participants individually completed a questionnaire on food consumption and answered an attitude questionnaire (first survey period). Half of the participants (message group) participated in an information program targeting protein consumption, whereas the other half (control group) were not given any information. Two weeks after the program, both groups participated in the same surveys again (second survey period).
Subjects: Eighty-two healthy subjects (65 to 75 years old) living at home participated in this study.
Statistical analyses: A two-way multivariate analysis of variance, paired t tests, and chi2 tests were performed to determine the influence of group (control versus message) and gender on the differences in protein consumption and in attitudes between the first and second survey periods.
Results: In the second survey period, the control group participants decreased their protein intake by an average of 0.049 g/lb/day, mainly by a reduction in meat product consumption. Conversely, the message group participants increased their protein intake by 0.041 g/lb/day, with a greater increase for the women (0.059) than the men (0.023 g/lb/day). After the nutrition information program, knowledge, perceived control on health, and belief that sensory perception decreased with age were higher among the message group participants.
Conclusions: Nutrition knowledge and protein intake increased significantly among the message group participants. Thus, it is possible to change dietary practice and knowledge in elderly individuals by information targeting one nutrition message.