The consumption of protein-rich foods in older adults: an exploratory focus group study

J Nutr Educ Behav. 2013 Nov-Dec;45(6):751-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jneb.2013.03.008. Epub 2013 Jul 2.


Objective: Many older adults consume inadequate protein for their needs. This study explored the factors associated with the consumption of high-protein foods in older adults.

Methods: Participants over the age of 65 years (n = 28) took part in 1 of 4 focus group discussions on meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, nuts, and pulses. Discussions were audio taped, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis.

Results: Numerous and various reasons for the consumption and non-consumption of high-protein foods were reported. Many of these reasons result from reductions in chemosensory, dental and physical abilities, and changes in living situation in the older population, and have impact specifically on high-protein foods because of their often hard, perishable and need-to-be-cooked nature, and high cost.

Conclusions and implications: Further work is required to establish the importance of each of these reasons in relation to protein intakes, to prioritize those of likely greatest impact for increasing intakes.

Keywords: aged; dietary protein; focus groups; thematic content analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dietary Proteins*
  • Feeding Behavior / psychology*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups*
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male


  • Dietary Proteins