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The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 459–465 | Cite as

The Alternative Healthy Eating Index and Physical Function Impairment in Men

  • Kaitlin A. HaganEmail author
  • F. Grodstein
Article

Abstract

Objectives

Physical function is increasingly recognized as integral to healthy aging, in particular as a core component of mobility and independent living in older adults. Thus, it is important to identify strategies for the prevention of physical function decline.

Design

Longitudinal cohort study.

Setting and Participants

A total of 12,658 men from the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study were followed from 2008–2012.

Measurements

We examined the association between the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI), a measure of diet quality combining 11 dietary components (vegetables, fruits, nuts and legumes, red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages and fruit juices, alcohol, whole grains, omega-3 fatty acids, polyunsaturated fatty acids, trans fatty acids, sodium), and impairment in physical function, as measured by the SF-36. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of impairment in physical function.

Results

In the multivariable-adjusted model, each 10-point increase in total AHEI score was associated with a 10% lower odds of impairment in physical function (OR=0.90, 95% CI: 0.86,0.95), and in the categorical analysis, men with AHEI scores in the top quintile had a 26% lower odds (OR=0.74, 95% CI:0.63,0.86) compared with men in the bottom quintile. For individual AHEI components, higher intake of vegetables (p-trend=0.01), nuts and legumes (p-trend<0.01), polyunsaturated fatty acids (p-trend<0.01) and lower intake of red and processed meats (p-trend=0.03) and sugar-sweetened beverages (p-trend=0.01) were significantly associated with lower odds of physical impairment. For specific foods, higher consumption of lettuce, broccoli, blueberries, peanuts, walnuts and other nuts were associated with lower odds of impairment.

Conclusions

In this large cohort of older men, better overall diet quality was significantly associated with a lower odds of impairment in physical function. Given the value of physical function to healthy aging and quality of life, this may represent a particularly compelling public health rationale for older men to improve their diet.

Key words

Diet Quality physical function aging longitudinal cohort study epidemiology 

Abbreviations

AHEI

Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010

BMI

Body Mass Index

CI

Confidence Interval

FFQ

Food Frequency Questionnaire

HPFS

Health Professionals Follow-Up Study

OR

Odds Ratio

SF-36

Medical Outcomes Short Form-36

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Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag International SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Channing Division of Network Medicine, Department of MedicineBrigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.BostonUSA

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