Greater fruit and vegetable intake associated with reduced risk of frailty

Eating more fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of becoming physically frail.


What is the relationship between fruit and vegetable consumption and frailty?

What was done?

2926 older adults from three studies completed questionnaires on their fruit and vegetable consumption. Participants level of physical frailty was also measured.

What was found?

Consuming more fruits and vegetables was associated with lower rates of of developing symptoms of physical frailty.

How does this affect me?

Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet may have positive effects for physical health.

Article Abstract

Background: Consuming fruit and vegetables (FVs) may protect against frailty, but to our knowledge no study has yet assessed their prospective dose-response relation.

Objective: We sought to examine the dose-response association between FV consumption and the risk of frailty in older adults.

Design: Data were taken from 3 independent cohorts of community-dwelling older adults: the Seniors-ENRICA (Study on Nutrition and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Spain) cohort (n = 1872), Three-City (3C) Bordeaux cohort (n = 581), and integrated multidisciplinary approach cohort (n = 473). Baseline food consumption was assessed with a validated computerized diet history (Seniors-ENRICA) or with a food-frequency questionnaire (3C Bordeaux and AMI). In all cohorts, incident frailty was assessed with the use of the Fried criteria. Results across cohorts were pooled with the use of a random-effects model.

Results: During a mean 2.5-y follow-up, 300 incident frailty cases occurred. Fully adjusted models showed that the pooled ORs (95% CIs) of incident frailty comparing participants who consumed 1, 2, or ≥3 portions of fruit/d to those with no consumption were, respectively, 0.59 (0.27, 0.90), 0.58 (0.29, 0.86), and 0.48 (0.20, 0.75), with a P-trend of 0.04. The corresponding values for vegetables were 0.69 (0.42, 0.97), 0.56 (0.35, 0.77), and 0.52 (0.13, 0.92), with a P-trend < 0.01. When FVs were analyzed together, the pooled ORs (95% CIs) of incident frailty were 0.41 (0.21, 0.60), 0.47 (0.25, 0.68), 0.36 (0.18, 0.53), and 0.31 (0.13, 0.48), with a P-trend < 0.01 for participants who consumed 2, 3, 4, or ≥5 portions/d, respectively, compared with those who consumed ≤1 portion/d. An inverse dose-response relation was also found between the baseline consumption of fruit and risk of exhaustion, low physical activity, and slow walking speed, whereas the consumption of vegetables was associated with a decreased risk of exhaustion and unintentional weight loss.

Conclusions: Among community-dwelling older adults, FV consumption was associated with a lower short-term risk of frailty in a dose-response manner, and the strongest association was obtained with 3 portions of fruit/d and 2 portions of vegetables/d.

Link to full article.

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