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The Association between Poor Diet Quality, Physical Fatigability and Physical Function in the Oldest-Old from the Geisinger Rural Aging Study

Davis, Brett and Liu, Yi-Hsuan and Stampley, James and Wood, G. Craig and Mitchell, Diane C. and Jensen, Gordon L. and Gao, Xiang and Glynn, Nancy W. and Still, Christopher D. and Irving, Brian A. (2021) The Association between Poor Diet Quality, Physical Fatigability and Physical Function in the Oldest-Old from the Geisinger Rural Aging Study. Geriatrics, 6 (2). p. 41. ISSN 2308-3417

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More perceived physical fatigability and poor diet quality are associated with impairments in physical function in older adults. However, the degree to which more perceived fatigability explains the association between poor diet quality and low physical function is unknown. We examined this relationship in 122 (66F, 56M) of the oldest-old participants from the Geisinger Rural Aging Study (GRAS). We used 24-h dietary recalls to assess the Healthy Eating Index (HEI), the Pittsburgh Fatigability Scale (PFS, 0–50) to assess perceived physical fatigability, and the PROMIS Physical Function 20a* to assess physical function. We grouped participants into three age categories: 80–84 (n = 51), 85–89 (n = 51), and 90+ (n = 20) years. Multiple linear regression revealed that a lower HEI was associated with higher PFS Physical score after adjusting for age group, sex, body mass index, and the number of medical conditions (p = 0.001). Several macro- and micro-nutrient intakes were also lower in those reporting more (≥15) compared to less (<15) perceived physical fatigability. Mediation analysis revealed that PFS Physical scores explained ~65% (p = 0.001) of the association between HEI total score and PROMIS19 Physical Function score. Poor diet quality may contribute to more perceived physical fatigability, which could exacerbate impairments in the oldest-old’s physical function.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Davis, Brett
Liu, Yi-Hsuan
Stampley, James
Wood, G. Craig
Mitchell, Diane C.
Jensen, Gordon L.
Gao, Xiang
Glynn, Nancy W.EPIDNWG@pitt.edu0000-0003-2265-0162
Still, Christopher D.
Irving, Brian A.0000-0002-4131-9523
Date: 15 April 2021
Date Type: Publication
Journal or Publication Title: Geriatrics
Volume: 6
Number: 2
Publisher: MDPI AG
Page Range: p. 41
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.3390/geriatrics6020041
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Epidemiology
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: nutrition, fatigue, macronutrients, micronutrients, healthy eating index, protein
ISSN: 2308-3417
Official URL:
Funders: United States Department of Agriculture, National Institutes of Health, LSU Biomedical Collaborative Research Program, Economic Development Assistantship from Louisiana State University, Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, Intramural Research Program at the National Institute on Aging, Louisiana State University’s Library Open Access Author Fund
Article Type: Research Article
Date Deposited: 20 May 2022 15:02
Last Modified: 20 May 2022 15:02


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