Serum micronutrient concentrations and decline in physical function among older persons

Benedetta Bartali, Edward A. Frongillo, Jack M. Guralnik, Martha H. Stipanuk, Heather G. Allore, Antonio Cherubini, Stefania Bandinelli, Luigi Ferrucci, Thomas M. Gill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


Context: Maintaining independence of older persons is a public health priority, and identifying the factors that contribute to decline in physical function is needed to prevent or postpone the disablement process. The potential deleterious effect of poor nutrition on decline in physical function in older persons is unclear. Objective: To determine whether a low serum concentration of micronutrients is associated with subsequent decline in physical function among older men and women living in the community. Design, Setting, and Participants: Longitudinal study of 698 community-living persons 65 years or older who were randomly selected from a population registry in Tuscany, Italy. Participants completed the baseline examination from November 1, 1998, through May 28, 2000, and the 3-year follow-up assessments from November 1, 2001, through March 30, 2003. Main Outcome Measure: Decline in physical function was defined as a loss of at least 1 point in the Short Physical Performance Battery during the 3-year follow-up. Odds ratios (ORs) were calculated for the lowest quartile of each nutrient using the other 3 quartiles combined as the reference group. Two additional and complementary analytical approaches were used to confirm the validity of the results. Results: The mean decline in the Short Physical Performance Battery score was 1.1 point. In a logistic regression analysis that was adjusted for potential confounders, only a low concentration of vitamin E (

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)308-315
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Medical Association
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 23 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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