Adequate protein intakes are important for preventing and treating sarcopenia. Age-related sarcopenia is associated with altered physical functioning, and hyperglycemia is associated with an increased risk for sarcopenia, possibly due to increased muscle loss related to metabolic changes. Impairments in physical functioning may be manifested as falls, fractures, and limited mobility. Therefore, this study examined the differences in physical functioning in U.S. adults by glycemic status and protein intake. Data were examined from 23,487 non-institutionalized adults, aged 31 years and older, from the 2005-2016 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Hemoglobin A1c (%) was used to classify glycemic status: nondiabetes (<5.7%); prediabetes (5.7-6.4%); diabetes (≥6.5%). Dietary data were collected using 24-hour dietary recalls. Participants were further categorized by mean individual protein intake as either ’met’ or ’did not meet’ the protein recommendation of 0.8 g/kg/d. NHANES questionnaire data containing 19 discrete physical tasks were used to assess functional limitations. For those without diabetes, 35.9% had protein intakes below 0.8 g/kg/d while 46.8% of adults with prediabetes and 51.3% of adults with diabetes had protein intakes below 0.8 g/kg/d. Adults with diabetes had more functional limitations than those without, and even more if below the protein recommendation. Likewise, adults who consumed < 0.8 g/kg/d protein had more functional limitations, regardless of glycemic status. The most common physical limitation reported across all glycemic groups was stooping, crouching, and kneeling; and 52% of adults with diabetes who did not meet the protein recommendation reported this specific limitation. Assessment of dietary protein intakes are encouraged for adults, especially those with diabetes, to encourage optimal physical functioning and prevent sarcopenia.
S. Thomas: Employee; Self; Abbott. S.M. Fanelli: None. O. Kelly: Employee; Self; Abbott. Employee; Spouse/Partner; Abbott. J.L. Krok-Schoen: None. C.A. Taylor: Research Support; Self; Abbott Laboratories.