Date of Graduation

5-2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Health, Human Performance and Recreation

Advisor

Gray, Michelle

Reader

Sullivan, Amanda

Second Reader

Calleja, Paul

Abstract

As the body ages, physical and cognitive declines can result in balance and mobility deficits, but research has shown that proper nutrition and exercise can help maintain physical and mental capacity. The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between habitual dietary protein intake and dual task performance in sedentary (SED), recreationally active (RA), and masters athletes (MA). To measure physical activity levels, the Rapid Physical Activity Questionnaire (RAPA) was completed by all participants. The participants were placed into a high or low protein group using the ASA-24 hour dietary recall. If the participant consumed less than 0.8 g/kg of protein per day, they were placed in the low protein group; if the participant consumed more than 0.8 g/kg of protein per day, they were placed in the high protein group. Participants completed four different walking tasks: habitual speed, maximal speed, dual-task habitual speed, and dual-task maximal speed. Gait speed was measured over a distance of 10 meters. SED, RA, and MA consumed a mean of 0.84, 1.13, and 1.57 grams of protein per kilogram body weight per day, respectively. MA consumed significantly more protein than SED or RA participants (α < .05). The low protein group consumed 0.84 g/kg of protein ± 0.39 while the high protein group consumed 1.30 g/kg of protein ± 0.50. There was no significant correlation between amount of protein consumed and dual task performance. While the results were for dual task performance not statistically significant, they may have clinical significance; when comparing the high and low protein groups for the dual task habitual trial, the high protein group covered the 10-m distance 0.73 seconds faster than the low protein group. Clinically, the higher protein group may be able to perform activities of daily living more efficiently.

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