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Healthy lifelong diet pays dividends in older age

People who have a healthier diet throughout adulthood are more likely to be stronger and fitter in later life, according to a study of people who have been monitored since birth.

People who have a healthier diet throughout adulthood are more likely to be stronger and fitter in later life, according to a study of people who have been monitored since birth


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People who have a healthier diet throughout their adult lives are more likely to be stronger and fitter in older age, a study shows.

Scientists from the University of Southampton and University College London looked at the diet of 969 British men and women whose lifestyles have been monitored since they were born in March 1946.

They examined diet at different ages, and gave them three physical tests between the ages of 60 and 64.

Better balance

The tests included time taken to rise from a chair and sit back down again ten times, as well time taken to rise from a chair, walk three metres at normal pace and return to the chair.

The other test was for balance ­– standing on one leg with eyes closed for up to 30 seconds.

The study showed that those who ate more fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals, and fewer highly processed foods, throughout adulthood performed better in the three tests of physical function in older age.


Robinson S et al (2017) Adult Lifetime Diet Quality and Physical Performance in Older Age: Findings From a British Birth Cohort. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A.  doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glx179

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