Aging and Chronic Disease
Prior research has suggested that the anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory potential of fruits and vegetables may reduce pre-mature aging. The purpose of this analysis is to prospectively examine the association between fruits and vegetables intake and incident frailty in older women.
Methods : 30,267 non-frail women aged 60+ from the Nurses’ Health Study were followed from 1990 to 2012. Frailty was defined as having at least three of the following five criteria from the FRAIL scale: fatigue, poor strength, low aerobic capacity, having ≥5 illnesses, and weight loss ≥5%. Fruits and vegetables intake were assessed from a food frequency questionnaire six times during follow-up and Cox models adjusting for potential confounders was used to estimate hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals for the association with incident frailty.
Results : 6888 incident frailty cases were accrued during follow-up. Total fruits and vegetable intake was associated with a lower risk of frailty (adjusted RR comparing 7+ servings/d vs < 3d/ =0.77, 95% CI=0.69-0.85, p trend< 0.001). The RR for total vegetables intake comparing 5+/d vs < 2/d was 0.85 (95% CI=0.77-0.94, p trend=0.009). The strongest association among vegetables groups was observed with leafy vegetables (RR for >1/d compared with < 1/wk =0.77, 95% CI= 0.68-0.88, p trend< 0.001) and yellow vegetables (RR=0.85, 95% CI=0.74-0.98, p trend=0.002). RR total fruits intake, comparing 4+/d vs < 1/d was 0.91 (95%CI=0.80-1.04, p trend=0.03). intake of 6/wk or more of apples and pears was associated with an RR of 0.87 (95% CI=0.78-0.98, p trend< 0.001) compared with women who consumed < 1/wk. These associations did not differ by BMI or physical activity level.
Conclusions : Higher fruits and vegetables intake was associated with a lower risk of frailty in this cohort of age 60+ U.S. women.
Funding Sources : Data collection for this analysis was funded by the National Institutes of Health.