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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Meal frequency and vegetable intake does not predict the development of frailty in older adults

Julie Johannesson, Elisabet Rothenberg, Susanne Gustafsson, Frode Slinde
Nutrition and Health 2018 December 5, : 260106018815224
30514172

BACKGROUND: Frailty is considered highly prevalent among the aging population. Fruit and vegetable intake is associated with positive health outcomes across the life-span; however, the relationship with health benefits among older adults has received little attention.

AIM: The aim was to examine if a relationship exists between meal frequency or frequency of vegetable intake and the development of frailty in a population of older adults.

METHODS: A total of 371 individuals, 80 years or older, from the study 'Elderly Persons in the Risk Zone' were included. Data was collected in the participants' home by face-to-face interviews up to 24 months after the intervention. Baseline data were calculated using Chi2 -test; statistical significance was accepted at the 5% level. Binary logistic regression was used for the relationship between meal frequency or vegetable intake and frailty.

RESULTS: Mean meal frequency was 4.2 ± 0.9 meals per day; women seem to have a somewhat higher meal frequency than men (p=0.02); 57% of the participants had vegetables with at least one meal per day. No significant relationship was found between meal frequency or vegetable intake and frailty at 12 or 24 months follow-ups.

CONCLUSIONS: Among this group of older adults (80+), meal frequency was slightly higher among women than men, and just over half of the participants had vegetables with at least one meal a day. The risk of developing frailty was not associated with meal frequency or vegetable intake. The questions in this study were meant as indicators for healthy food habits.

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