Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare Raises the Intake Target of Protein for Undernutrition and Flail Prevention

Japanese dietary intake standards were formulated for an improved super-aging society

Japan is now moving towards having a declining birth rate and an aging population in unprecedented speed. According to the Annual Report on the Aging Japanese Society 2019 released by the Cabinet Office, those aged 65 and over accounted for 28.1% of the general population. It is forecasted that in 2065, one of 2.6 people will be aged 65 and over, and one of 3.9 people will be 75 years old and over. Japan’s aging rate was the highest (26.6%) in the world in 2015 and the speed of aging is expected to be even faster.

The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare will enforce “Dietary Reference Intake 2020” in April 2020, which will focus on fighting undernutrition and preventing a frailty. The lower limit of practical intake level of “protein” for aged over fifty people was reviewed and age classification was changed. For those aged over 60, the percentage of protein-based energy, which is accounted for in total energy, was set at 15 %, showing an increase of 2 points from 13 % in 2015. It was noted that people whose energy intake is low might go under the lower limit of the intake level, but even those people are recommended to go over the lower limit of the intake level.

The recommended lower limit of the intake level is 60g per day for males and 50g per day for females. Regarding age classification, more meticulous nutritional measures are recommended, and three new classification, “50-64 years old” “65-74 years old” and “over 75 years old”, were created, which were changed from “50-69 years old” and “over 70 years old”.

More Attention on Low-fat Meat Intake and High Protein Food, which is Increasing

According to the National Health and Nutrition Survey (2018 version) that was released in January by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, the average intake of protein was 70.4g (over 1 year old for both male and female). It was the highest in 1995 at 81.5g and has been decreasing since, falling to as low as 67.3g in 2010, but recovered afterwards. The main sources of protein is meat, fish and soy. Meat intake was 75.2g in 1989 and 104.5g in 2018, which accounts for a 38.9% in 30 years. Meanwhile, seafood intake was 96.2g in 1989 and 65.1g in 2018, revealing a 32% decrease. Bean intake was also slightly decreased by 8% from 68.1g in 1989 to 62.9g in 2018.

Recently, Japanese dietary habits have been westernised, and protein intake from seafood and bean tends to decrease. The balance of three major energy-providing nutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrate) is called “Index” and is used to evaluate healthy dietary habits. In regards to these annual transitions, the fat energy ratio was at 14.8% in 1965, and increased by 13.5% to 28.3% in 2018, which indicated that the fat-energy ratio intake increased. It has been observed that increase in high-fat meat intake could lead to lifestyle-related diseases, which is caused by having too much. Recently, the healthy functions of soy protein and fish-meat protein have been introduced in the media, and high-protein foods and low-fat protein foods are now draw attention in Japan.

Abstract of The Health Industry News