What is the relationship between physical fitness level and macro- and micronutrient intake in Spanish older adults?

Eur J Nutr. 2019 Jun;58(4):1579-1590. doi: 10.1007/s00394-018-1696-z. Epub 2018 May 2.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the association between physical fitness (PF) and energy and nutrient intake in Spanish older adults.

Methods: Three hundred and twenty-four participants (59.9% females, aged over 55 years) performed a battery of four validated PF tests and participants were divided into three: low, medium, and high PF. Dietary intake was assessed by two non-consecutive 24 h dietary recalls. Energy and nutrient intake was calculated using the ALIMENTA software. Energy expenditure (EE) was calculated using a validated questionnaire.

Results: Median energy intake (EI) was 2135, 1999, and 2111 kcal/day in the low, medium, and high PF in males, respectively. In females, the median EI was 1576, 1564, and 1625 kcal/day in the low, medium, and high PF groups. There were significant and positive associations between participants in the high PF group and intake of phosphorous, selenium, vitamin B6, C, D, E, niacin, and folates (all p < 0.05). However, subjects in the high PF group presented negative associations with thiamine and riboflavin intake (all p < 0.05). A total of 8.3% of participants presented inadequate intake of 11 micronutrients. PF seems to affect total nutrient intake.

Conclusions: Higher protein and fat intake was observed in the high PF group compared to the other PF groups in males, although participants in the high PF group had also higher EE. However, females presented different patterns. In both sexes participants in the high PF group showed a better micronutrient intake profile than the other PF groups. There is a need to develop combined nutritional and fitness programs.

Keywords: Aging; Diet records; Energy expenditure; Macronutrients; Micronutrients; Physical fitness.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment / methods
  • Geriatric Assessment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronutrients*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrients*
  • Nutritional Status / physiology*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Spain


  • Micronutrients