Effectiveness of a Diet and Resistance Exercise Intervention on Muscle Health in Older Adults: ProMuscle in Practice

Dongen, Ellen J.I. van; Haveman-Nies, Annemien; Doets, Esmée L.; Dorhout, Berber G.; Groot, Lisette C.P.G.M. de


Objectives: Clinical studies show that resistance exercise and a protein-rich diet can counteract the age-related decline of muscle mass, strength, and physical performance. The aim of the ProMuscle in Practice study was to test effectiveness of a resistance exercise and dietary protein intervention for older adults implemented in a real-life setting. Design: A randomized controlled multicenter intervention study. Setting and Participants: One hundred sixty-eight community-dwelling older adults were included (age 75 ± 6 years). A 12-week intensive support intervention including progressive resistance exercise supervised by a physiotherapist and dietitian guidance on increasing protein intake was followed by a voluntary 12-week moderate support intervention to continue the adapted lifestyle pattern. The control group received no intervention. Methods: Compliance was measured through attendance lists and 3-day food records. Physical functioning, leg strength (3-repetition maximum, knee extension strength), lean body mass [(LBM) dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry], and quality of life (5-level EQ-5D) were measured at baseline, and after 12 and 24 weeks. Differences in change between groups were assessed with linear mixed model analysis. Results: The intervention group increased protein intake and attended 83.6% of the training sessions. Short Physical Performance Battery score slightly increased in intervention participants [from 10.1 (95% confidence interval 9.7–10.5) to 10.4 (10.0–10.8) at week 12 and 10.6 (10.2–10.9) at week 24], where control participants decreased (time × treatment interactions, P < .05). Improvements in intervention group compared with controls were also observed for Timed Up-and-Go, strength and LBM at both time points (time × treatment interactions, P < .05). No difference between groups was found for the 6-Minute Walking Test, activities of daily living, and quality of life. Conclusions and Implications: ProMuscle in Practice was effective on improving muscle strength and LBM, with small changes in the composite function score in community-dwelling older adults in a real-life setting. Further research should explore feasibility of real-life implementation, as well as improving long-term compliance.