Dietary Quality Is Related to Frailty in Community-Dwelling Older Adults

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Abstract

Background.

The etiology of the geriatric syndrome frailty is multifactorial. Besides hormonal and inflammatory processes, nutritional influences may be of major relevance. In this cross-sectional study, the association between dietary quality and frailty was investigated.

Methods.

In 192 community-dwelling older volunteers (>75 years), an interview-based food frequency questionnaire was used to assess nutritional data. A Mediterranean diet (MED) score (maximum 9 points) was used to evaluate dietary quality. Frailty was defined as the presence of at least three and prefrailty as the presence of one or two of the following criteria: weight loss, exhaustion, low physical activity, low handgrip strength, and slow walking speed. Older adults without any of these attributes were defined as “nonfrail” Binomial logistic regression analysis was used to assess the risk of being frail (vs prefrail and nonfrail) in each quartile (vs lowest quartile) of the MED score.

Results.

The mean (SD) age of the participants was 83 (4) years; 41.1% were prefrail and 15.1% were frail. The risk of being frail was significantly reduced in the highest quartile of the MED score (OR 0.26; 95% CI 0.07–0.98).

Conclusions.

A healthy dietary pattern is associated with a lower risk of being frail. Larger, prospective and interventional studies are needed to clarify the association between dietary quality and frailty.

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