, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 159-170
Date: 25 Jul 2013

Effects of a physical and nutritional intervention program for frail elderly people over age 75. A randomized controlled pilot treatment trial

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Abstract

Background and aims: There are few studies published that combine the interventions of physical training and nutrition. The aim of the present study was to describe the impact of a physical and nutritional intervention program for frail community-dwelling elderly people over the age of 75. Methods: Ninety-six community-dwelling elderly people (58 women) were randomized to four different groups: i) a physical training program (aerobic, muscle strength, balance), ii) a nutritional intervention program (individually targeted advice and group sessions), iii) a combination of these interventions, and iv) a control group. At baseline subjects were screened for physical performance such as muscle strength, balance, mobility and activities of daily living, as well as nutritional aspects such as energy intake, body weight and fat-free mass. These measurements were repeated immediately after the intervention, which lasted for 12 weeks, and after another 6 months. Results: The intention-to-treat analysis indicated significant improvements in lower-extremity muscle strength in both training groups compared with the nutrition group at 1st follow-up. There were small significant changes for some of the balance measurements in the training group without nutrition treatment. The nutrition intervention did not show any significant results. Conclusions: This study shows the positive effect on lower-extremity muscle strength directly after the intervention. Balance training most probably needs to be more individualized in order to be effective for frail elderly people. Further studies are needed, with larger sample sizes, to investigate the effects of these types of interventions before any further conclusions can be drawn.