Certain nutrients have shown protective effects against frailty, but less is known about the influence of individual food groups. Thus, this study aimed to investigate the relationship between the intake of different food groups and physical frailty in a cohort of community-dwelling older adults in Cork, Ireland.
One hundred and forty-two (n = 81 females, n = 61 males, age 74.1 ± 6.80 years) Irish community-dwelling volunteers aged ⩾65 years participated in this cross-sectional study. Dietary intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Frailty was identified as having 3 or more of the following criteria: weight loss, exhaustion, weakness, slow walking speed and low physical activity. Relationships between intakes of food groups and frailty score were determined using Spearman’s rank (and partial rank) correlations and ordinal logistic regression analysis.
Negative Spearman’s rank correlations were observed between frailty score and fish and fish products, fruit and vegetables and nuts and seeds, while positive correlations were found between frailty score and potatoes, fats and oils and sugars, preserves and snacks ( P < .05). After adjustment for confounders, partial rank correlations remained statistically significant ( P < .05) for all of the above dietary variables, with the exception of nuts and seeds ( P > .05). Following ordinal logistic regression, the odds ratios (ORs) (95%CI) for frailty incidence for those in the lowest tertile of food group intake compared to the highest were; 3.04 (1.09-8.85) for fish and fish products, 4.34 (1.54-13.13) for fruit and vegetables, 1.52 (0.58-4.15) for nuts and seeds, 0.54 (0.19-1.51) for potatoes, 0.58 (0.17-1.95) for fats and oils and 0.49 (0.16-1.47) for sugars, preserves and snacks.