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Diet & Health Study News

Summer 2021 (PDF version - 1.0MB)

Dear Participant,

Since March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic presented numerous challenges for all of us. We recognize many of our NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study participants faced illness and grief as well as endured isolation from their community, friends, family, and loved ones. We want to stay in touch with you now more than ever! This edition of the newsletter highlights study results that will help us continue to live well and live longer. (Before making any big changes to your daily diet or physical activity, first consult your health care provider.)

As always, we couldn’t do this critical research on diet and health with you. Thanks to your continued participation, the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study just passed its 25th Anniversary! Look in your mailbox and your inbox for a new questionnaire. You can also get up-to-date information at the study website

Thank you for your continued participation in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study!

Help Us Stay in Touch

We value your continued participation in this study! In order for us to be able to send you questionnaires and newsletters in the future, we ask that you visit the study website at and enter your email address and any recent address change.

sample address change form with an arrow from the mailing ID field pointing to the mailer code found under the barcode and above your mailing address

Recent Research Results

High Protein Diets: Plant Versus Animal Sources

Many Americans are adding more protein to their diet. Higher protein diets have been shown to help with weight management, metabolism, and healthy aging. Dietary protein can come from animal sources, such as meat, dairy, and eggs, and from plant sources, including beans, grains, and nuts. What’s the impact of eating more or less of these two sources of protein?

Researchers used data from the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study to look at diets that included more plant protein versus animal protein. Both male and female participants who replaced just small amounts of animal protein with plant protein lived longer compared to those who didn’t. This trend was seen even among participants who smoked, had diabetes, and consumed varying amounts of fruit and vitamin supplements.

Huang J, Liao LM, Weinstein SJ, Sinha R, Graubard BI, Albanes D. Association Between Plant and Animal Protein Intake and Overall and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Intern Med, 2020 Sep 1;180(9):1173-1184.

Adults Benefit from Increasing Their Physical Activity

There are many health benefits to being physically active. All activity is good activity - whether it’s walking, swimming, biking, or playing pickleball. In our study, participants who did high-intensity exercise consistently (2-8 hours/week) throughout their lives, starting in childhood, lived longer and had fewer deaths due to cardiovascular disease and cancer. Participants with much lower levels of exercise (1 hour/week) throughout their lives had reduced benefits.

Even if you weren’t physically active when you were younger, there are good reasons to increase your level of physical activity, no matter your age. Adults who increased their physical activity later in life also lived longer and had fewer deaths due to cardiovascular disease and cancer compared to those who continued to do very little to no physical activity.

Saint-Maurice PF, Coughlan D, Kelly SP, Keadle SK, Cook MB, Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Matthews CE. Association of Leisure-Time Physical Activity Across the Adult Life Course With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 Mar 1;2(3):e190355. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.0355. PMID: 30848809; PMCID: PMC6484624.

Want to find out more? You can find more information about these and other NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study research findings on the website at