Poorer overall diet quality was linked with an increased risk of becoming frail in a study of U.S. community-dwelling older adults, published in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. The quality of the overall diet appeared to be more important than protein intake for a lower risk of frailty.
During 4 years of follow-up, 277 of the 2154 participants--who were 70-81 years and characterized as "robust" or "pre-frail" at the start of the study--developed frailty. Poor- and medium-quality diets were associated with a 92% and 40% higher incidence of frailty compared with good-quality diets, respectively. No association for protein intake was observed.
"The role of single nutrients such as protein in the development of frailty is not fully understood and definitely needs further investigation. Nevertheless, this study contributes to the prevailing idea that the overall quality is important anyway," said lead author Linda Hengeveld, of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, in the Netherlands.