Dietary carbohydrates and change in physical performance of elderly Europeans. SENECA 1993 and 1999

I Kynde, K Schroll, Inge Tetens, B Heitmann

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Objective To study dietary glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) in association with physical performance in elderly Europeans. Design Cross-sectional and prospective study. Physical performance was measured using the Physical Performance Test (PPT) score on a scale from 0 to 27, where high scores indicate a better physical performance. Habitual diets were measured using diet history interviews and dietary GI and GL were estimated from table values. Setting Eight towns/centres from the Survey in Europe on Nutrition and the Elderly, a Concerted Action (SENECA) in 1993 and 1999. Subjects Seven hundred and sixty-five men and women, 75–80 years old, were examined in 1993; of these, 357 (47 %) were followed up in 1999, at age 80–85 years. Results At baseline, both dietary GI and GL were significantly inversely associated with PPT scores (P = 0·03 and P = 0·05, respectively). When adjusted for age, BMI, physical activity, self-perceived health, chronic diseases and town/centre, the strength of the associations was attenuated and became non-significant (GI, P = 0·08; GL, P = 0·92). Dietary GI/GL were not associated with PPT scores 6 years later. Conclusions Among elderly Europeans, a high glycaemic diet was associated with a low physical performance at baseline but not 6 years later. Cross-sectional associations may in part be caused by variations in age, BMI, physical activity, self-perceived health, chronic diseases and geographic location.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number8
Pages (from-to)1186-1190
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Elderly people
  • Physical health
  • Glycaemic index
  • Nutrition
  • Public health

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