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Physical exercise or micronutrient supplementation for the wellbeing of the frail elderly? A randomised controlled trial
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  1. M J M Chin A Paw,
  2. N de Jong,
  3. E G Schouten,
  4. W A van Staveren,
  5. F J Kok
  1. Division of Human Nutrition and Epidemiology, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr Chin A Paw, Institute for Research in Extramural Medicine and Department of Social Medicine, Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands;
 M.Chinapaw.emgo{at}med.vu.nl

Abstract

Objective: To examine the effects of 17 weeks of physical exercise and micronutrient supplementation on the psychological wellbeing of 139 independently living, frail, elderly subjects (inactive, body mass index ≤25 or experiencing weight loss).

Methods: Participants (mean (SD) age 78.5 (5.7)) were randomly assigned to: (a) comprehensive, moderate intensity, group exercise; (b) daily micronutrient enriched foods (25–100% recommended daily amount); (c) both; (d) neither. A social programme and identical regular foods were offered as attention control and placebo.

Results: At baseline, moderate to low but significant correlations were found between general wellbeing scores and physical fitness (r = 0.28), functional performance (r = 0.37), and blood concentrations of pyridoxine (r = 0.20), folate (r = 0.25), and vitamin D (r = 0.23) (all p values ≤0.02), but not with physical activity levels and other blood vitamin concentrations. General wellbeing score and self rated health were not responsive to 17 weeks of exercise or nutritional intervention.

Conclusion: Psychological wellbeing in frail elderly people was not responsive to 17 weeks of intervention with exercise and/or micronutrient enriched foods. The moderate but significant correlations between wellbeing and physical fitness and several blood vitamin concentrations at baseline suggest that changes in wellbeing may occur after long term interventions.

  • physical activity
  • nutrition
  • elderly
  • exercise
  • psychological health
  • SSWO, scale of subjective wellbeing for older persons
  • PASE, physical activity scale for the elderly
  • BMI, body mass index

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