Food intake and exercise study in older adults : a thesis presented in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nutritional Science at Massey University

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Massey University
This study aimed to explore the relationships between food intake, body composition and exercise levels of a group of people (8 men and 34 women) currently exercising with the Sport North Harbour programs. Food intake was estimated by three day records and a calcium food frequency questionnaire. Participants kept two week exercise diaries using the PEPSA scoring system to record levels of activity. In addition bioelectrical impedance analysis was carried out and data collected on supplement use, nutrition education, alcohol intake and gardening and housework undertaken in the last four weeks. Mean exercise levels for the group were approximately one hour per day with walking the most popular form of exercise. Fat free mass (FFM) for women was found to decline with age despite this level of exercise. The quality of food intake was similar to that obtained from the LINZ study participants 45 years and older. 35% of women and 12% of men under-reported energy intake according to the FAO/WHO/UNU criteria. No relationships were found between energy intake, energy expenditure or levels of FFM. Extremely good correlations (r=>0.9) were found between the PEPSA system and other validated methods of recording activity levels. Despite these older adults exercising to provide health benefits they were not choosing a desirable food intake which would specifically provide health benefits; over 50% took dietary supplements. It is recommended that nutrition be included as an integral part of programs to promote exercise in older adults.
Older people, Ageing, Exercise, Nutrition