Association Between Dietary Habits and Physical Function in Brazilian and Italian Older Women

H.J. Coelho-Junior, R. Calvani, A. Picca, I.O. Gonçalves, F. Landi, R. Bernabei, M. Cesari, M.C. Uchida, E. Marzetti

Nutrients. 2020 Jun 1;12(6):E1635. doi: 10.3390/nu12061635.

The present study investigated and compared the patterns of dietary protein intake and physical function in Brazilian and Italian older women. Seventy-five Brazilian older women were recruited in a community senior center. Fifty-three age-matched Italian older women were selected from participants of the Longevity check-up (Lookup) 7+ study. In both samples, physical performance was evaluated by isometric handgrip strength (IHG) and five-time sit-to-stand (5 × STS) tests, while diet was assessed through 24-h recall.

Results indicated that Brazilian women had a higher intake of plant-based protein (52.7% vs. 30.5% kcal), while Italian women consumed greater amounts of animal-derived protein (29.7% vs. 41.5% kcal). In Brazilian women, the binary logistic regression analysis indicated that body weight-adjusted protein consumption was associated with IHG adjusted by body mass index and with 5 × STS performance. In the Italian sample, the intake of isoleucine, leucine, and valine was significantly associated with 5 × STS performance. Our findings indicate that Brazilian and Italian community-dwelling older women show different patterns of protein intake, with higher consumption of plant-based protein in the Brazilian sample and higher ingestion of animal-derived protein in the Italian subgroup.  

Comment:   These dietary patterns may differentially impact the relationship between physical function and protein intake observed in Brazilian and Italian older women.