Objectives: To assess prevailing food patterns, and its association with physical activity and fitness among Spanish older adults. Methods: Cross-sectional study in Spain, collecting data from a sample (n = 380; 54% female) aged 55-80 years (men) and 60-80 years (women) with no previously documented cardiovascular disease. Body weight, body fat and waist circumference were assessed. Physical activity performed was measured using the Minnesota Leisure-time Physical Activity Questionnaire (LTPA). Physical fitness was assessed using a validated physical fitness test battery. Food consumption was assessed by a validated semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire. Factor analysis identified two major dietary food patterns: "Western" (WDP) and "Mediterranean" (MDP) dietary patterns. Results: Participants in MDP's fourth quartile were classified in the second (men) and third (men and women) tertile of LTPA. After adjusting for age, body fat, waist-to-height ratio, and METs, in both sexes, a negative significant association was found between 30-s Chair stand and 6-min walking test, a positive significant association was found between 30-m Gait speed and 8-foot Time Up-and-Go (except in men) tests with WDP. The 30-m Gait speed test was negatively associated with MDP in men. Conclusions: MDP is associated with more time spent on LTPA, and this association was independent of body composition and a fast gait speed in men. WDP is associated with slower gait speed and lower body strength, agility and aerobic endurance. MDP has protective effect on healthy physical fitness, and WDP may be a contributor to frailty.
Keywords: body composition; dietary pattern; older adults; physical activity; physical fitness.