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One of the most debilitating injuries that can occur in the elderly is bone fractures. Older Americans who sustain osteoporotic fenioral fractures often do not recover fully, and the one-year mortality rates are 36% for men and 21% for women.
Those who recover are often not able to walk without assistance and the majority have difficulty with many activities associated with normal daily living. Poor nutrition increases susceptibility to bone fractures and hampers recovery in the elderly, and the most common nutritional deficiency is protein deficiency.
To demonstrate the usefulness ofprotein supplementation in the elderly, a group of recovering fracture patients was given a protein supplement containing 20g of protein in addition to their normal daily protein requirements for six months, It was shown that the protein-supplemented group had less bone loss; improved serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-1; decreased stays in rehabilitation facilities; and decreased mortality.
Therefore, increasing protein intake in seniors would not only help prevent fractures, but aid in their recovery when they do occur