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Vegetable and fruit intake and injurious falls risk in older women: a prospective cohort study

  • Marc Sim (a1) (a2), Lauren C. Blekkenhorst (a1) (a2), Joshua R. Lewis (a1) (a2) (a3), Catherine P. Bondonno (a1) (a2), Amanda Devine (a1), Kun Zhu (a4) (a5), Richard J. Woodman (a6), Richard L. Prince (a4) (a5) and Jonathan M. Hodgson (a1) (a2)...

The role of vegetable and fruit intake in reducing falls risk in elderly populations is uncertain. This study examined the associations of vegetable and fruit intake with falls-related hospitalisations in a prospective cohort study of elderly women (n 1429, ≥70 years), including effects on muscular function, which represented a potential causal pathway. Muscular function, measured using grip strength and timed-up-and-go (TUG), and vegetable and fruit intake, quantified using a validated FFQ, were assessed at baseline (1998). Incident falls-related hospitalisation over 14·5-year follow-up was captured by the Hospital Morbidity Data Collection, linked via the Western Australian Data Linkage System. Falls-related hospitalisation occurred in 568 (39·7 %) of women. In multivariable-adjusted models, falls-related hospitalisations were lower in participants consuming more vegetables (hazard ratio (HR) per 75 g serve: 0·90 (95 % CI 0·82, 0·99)), but not fruit intake (per 150 g serve: 1·03 (95 % CI 0·93, 1·14)). Only total cruciferous vegetable intake was inversely associated with falls-related hospitalisation (HR: per 20 g serve: 0·90 (95 % CI 0·83, 0·97)). Higher total vegetable intake was associated with lower odds for poor grip strength (OR: 0·87 (95 % CI 0·77, 0·97)) and slow TUG (OR: 0·88 (95 % CI 0·78, 0·99)). Including grip strength and TUG in the multivariable-adjusted model attenuated the association between total vegetable intake and falls-related hospitalisations. In conclusion, elderly women with higher total and cruciferous vegetable intake had lower injurious falls risk, which may be explained in a large part by better physical function. Falls reduction may be considered an additional benefit of higher vegetable intake in older women.

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*Corresponding author: M. Sim, email
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British Journal of Nutrition
  • ISSN: 0007-1145
  • EISSN: 1475-2662
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