SEOUL, March 20 (Korea Bizwire) — A new study has revealed that over 50 percent of South Korean seniors aren’t consuming the recommended daily protein intake, which could result in serious health problems such as a weak immune system.
The research team led by professor Park Hyun-a at Inje University Paik Hospital discovered that among South Koreans, nearly 48 percent of men and 60 percent of women fail to consume the recommended amount of protein every day.
While protein intake was generally lower, animal protein deficiency, which has higher bioavailability than vegetable protein, was significantly lower.
The findings urge older people to monitor their protein intake and recommend an increase in meat consumption, as muscle mass decreases with age and a lack of protein intake could weaken the immune system and lead to multiple health issues.
“Older South Koreans whose diet mainly consists of rice and vegetables have a misconception that meat consumption is somewhat unhealthy. An appropriate amount of animal protein is crucial in maintaining muscle mass and the immune system. Seniors need to consume protein through lean meat, which is high in cholesterol but less greasy,” said Park.
“As it is not a nutrient that stays stored in our body, eating protein on regular basis is more important than the total daily consumption volume. It’s ideal to consume a portion the size of a third of the palm of lean meat, chicken, fish, tofu and beans,” Park added.
When broken down by age, protein deficiency was more prevalent among older groups, and women were more likely to have a protein-deficient diet than men.
The biggest source of protein for South Korean seniors was grain, accounting for 35 percent, while meat and fish accounted for 13 percent and 9 percent, respectively.
The research was based on a sample of 3,512 people aged over 60 who participated in the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2013 and 2014.
The findings were published in the latest edition of the Korean Journal of Family Practice.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)