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Role of red meat and health in older people

Project start date: 25 February 2013
Project end date: 14 March 2013
Publication date: 14 March 2013
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Sheep, Goat, Lamb, Grassfed cattle, Grainfed cattle


With life expectancy increasing, there is interest in dietary strategies for achieving a longer, healthier lifestyle. Nutritional requirements increase for some nutrients with aging and loss of muscle, cognition and a decrease in the effectiveness of the immune system are major factors affecting quality of life.  Changes in taste, social, economic and physical factors can affect consumption of red meat.
Purpose and description
To determine the role of red meat in dietary and exercise strategies for improving muscle health and cognition in older people, MLA funded applications from researchers with expertise in exercise physiology at Deakin University. Several studies have been funded to understand the ideal combination of diet, exercise and a realistic amount of red meat required to improve muscle health. Professor Caryl Nowson from Deakin University, a leading expert on geriatric nutrition was commissioned to review the literature and recommend how current requirements should be updated to accommodate new findings. Projects building on previous research conducted by the University of Sydney, Deakin University and consumers insights conducted by Ipsos were commissioned to gain an understanding of eating behaviour and inform nutrition education communications.
To investigate the effect of a diet rich in red meat on muscle health and markers of gut health in older women.To investigate whether increasing dietary protein to at least 1.3g/kg/day through consumption of lean red meat on most days of the week, when combined with progressive resistance training in a vitamin D replete state will improve muscle health in older women.To investigate whether progressive resistance training combined with a protein-enriched diet achieved through lean red meat consumed on three days per week improves muscle health and cognitive function in older adults.To determine the protein requirements of older people with different levels of moderate to high level weight bearing activities.  To determine the nutritional requirements of older people as they transition from independent living to institutionalized care and implications for the Meals on Wheels and aged-care residence.  To investigate changes in diet and nutrient intake over 10 years in a cohort of older people living in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to explore the relationship between diet and health outcomes.To investigate attitudes to and perceptions of nutritional requirements and changes in eating behaviour associated with aging in independent living and institutionalized older people and their carers.  
OutcomesCitations:Daly RM et al. Protein-enriched diet, with the use of lean red meat, combined with progressive resistance training enhances lean tissue mass and muscle strength and reduces circulating IL-6 concentrations in elderly women: a cluster randomized controlled trial. Am J Clin Nutr doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.064154. See J, Flood V, Rochtchina E, Gopinath B, Allman-Farinelli M, Baumann A, Mitchell P. Adherence to dietary guidelines and 15-year risk of all-cause mortality. British Journal of Nutrition 2012; 109(3): 547-55. See VM, Burlutsky G, Webb KL, Wang JJ, Smith WT, Mitchell P. Food and nutrient consumption trends in older Australians: a 10-year cohort study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2010; 64(6):603-13. See JSL, Wang JJ, Flood V, Rochtchina E, Smith W, Mitchell P. Dietary antioxidants and the long-term incidence of age-related macular degeneration. Ophthalmology. 2008;115(2):334-41. See​