ProMuscle in Practice: Resistance exercise training and increased protein intake to improve physical functioning in community-dwelling elderly people

Muscle mass and muscle strength progressively decline with increasing age. This has negative consequences for daily functioning of older adults. Clinical studies show that sufficient protein intake combined with resistance exercise can maintain or improve muscle health and function in older adults. Wageningen University & Research have designed an innovative and evidence-based lifestyle programme for vulnerable older people. Successful daily implementation of the programme will contribute to independency and better quality of life of the elderly.

Maintaining strength and physical functioning are important for elderly people to be able to live at home independently. ProMuscle in Practice is a project that combines resistance exercise training and increased protein intake to stimulate an increase in strength and physical functioning. For this project, an effective clinical trial has been adapted to fit the real-life setting, and is currently implemented by health care professionals.

This project consists of three phases. In phase one, the effective clinical trial ProMuscle has been adapted to fit the real-life practice setting. Input from health care professionals, the target group (elderly people) and researchers has been used to adapt the implementation protocols. This resulted in protocols that can be used by physiotherapists and dieticians to implement this program.

Krachtoefening uitgevoerd door een deelnemer van het onderzoek in Wageningen

The second phase is the pilot implementation of the project in Harderwijk, a municipality in the province Gelderland. About 25 community-dwelling elderly participated in this project. They received progressive resistance exercise in small groups, guided by physiotherapists, twice a week. Furthermore, dieticians adviced the elderly people on how to increase their daily protein intake using dairy products. This pilot is used to study the feasibility and potential impact of this intervention in practice. This study is performed in collaboration with Zorggroep Noordwest-Veluwe and FrieslandCampina.

From 2016 a large-scale multi-centre intervention study will be conducted to investigate the implementation process and (cost-) effectiveness of ProMuscle in Practice in 5 different care and community settings in Gelderland. This study will determine whether the adapted program is as effective in practice as in the clinical setting. This project is a unique collaboration of partners from research, industry and the care and public health sector. The project is part the networks Academic Collaborative Centre AGORA and the Nutrition Alliance Gelderse Vallei.


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