Fruit and vegetable consumption and muscle strength and power during adolescence: a cross-sectional analysis of the Northern Ireland Young Hearts Project 1999-2001

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2014 Sep;14(3):367-76.


Objectives: To examine the association between fruit and vegetable (FV) consumption and muscle strength and power in an adolescent population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 1019 boys and 998 girls, aged 12 and 15 years, who participated in The Young Hearts Project. FV consumption (excluding potatoes) was assessed by 7-d diet history. Grip strength and jump power was assessed with a dynamometer and Jump-MD meter, respectively. Associations between FV consumption and strength and power were assessed by regression modelling.

Results: Boys and girls with the highest FV intakes (>237.71 g/d and >267.57 g/d, respectively, based on the highest tertile) had significantly higher jump power than those with the lowest intakes (<135.09 g/d and <147.43 g/d, respectively), after adjustment for confounding factors. Although girls with the highest FV intakes had higher grip strength than those with the lowest intakes, no significant independent associations were evident between FV intake and grip strength in boys or girls. Similar findings were observed when FV were analysed separately.

Conclusions: Higher FV consumption in this group of adolescents was positively associated with muscle power. There was no independent association between higher FV consumption and muscle strength. Intervention studies are required to determine whether muscle strength and power can be improved through increased FV consumption.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Fruit*
  • Hand Strength / physiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motor Activity / physiology
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Northern Ireland
  • Vegetables*