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Protein and energy requirements in health and illness 

Protein and energy requirements in health and illness
Protein and energy requirements in health and illness
Oxford Textbook of Geriatric Medicine (3 edn)

Jürgen M. Bauer

and Rebecca Diekmann


The preservation of functionality in elders is closely associated with their nutritional status. In this context it is pivotal for them to meet their nutritional requirements, which vary according to their individual needs. The latter are influenced to a large degree by activity level and comorbidity. Most older individuals will cover their energy needs in the range 25–30 kcal/kg body weight (BW) per day, but in extreme states like hyperkinetic dementia, the daily energy requirement may amount to 40 kcal/kg BW per day. To achieve optimal protein intake, older persons will need more protein per kg BW than the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of 0.8 g/kg BW per day, which was not varied according to age. For slowing the associated decline in muscle mass and bone quality, 1.0–1.2 g protein/kg BW per day is recommended. In older individuals with relevant comorbidity, even higher protein intake is advisable.

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