Effect of Diet, Exercise, or Both on Biological Age and Healthy Aging in Older Adults with Obesity: Secondary Analysis of a Randomized Controlled Trial

J Nutr Health Aging. 2022;26(6):552-557. doi: 10.1007/s12603-022-1812-x.


Objectives: To determine the effect of diet, exercise, and diet-exercise in combination on measures of biological age.

Design: Secondary analysis of a 1-year randomized, controlled trial.

Setting: University-based Medical Center.

Participants: One-hundred-seven older (age≥65 yrs.) adults with obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m2) were randomized and 93 completed the study. Analyses used intention-to-treat.

Interventions: Participants were randomized to a control group, a weight-management (diet) group, an exercise group, or a weight-management-plus-exercise (diet-exercise) group.

Main outcome measures: We calculated Klemera-Doubal Method (KDM) biological age, Homeostatic Dysregulation (HD) score, and Health Aging Index (HAI) score at baseline, and changes at 6- and 12-months.

Results: Diet and diet-exercise decreased KDM biological age more than exercise and control (-2.4±0.4, -2.2±0.3, -0.2±0.4, and 0.2±0.5, respectively, P<0.05 for the between group-differences). Diet and diet-exercise also decreased HD score more than exercise and control (-1.0±0.3, -1.1±0.3, 0.1±0.3, and 0.3±0.3 respectively, P<0.05). Moreover, diet-exercise decreased HAI score more than exercise, diet, or control (-1.1±0.2, -0.5±0.2, -0.5±0.2, and 0.0±0.2, respectively, P<0.05).

Conclusions: These findings suggest that diet and diet-exercise are both effective methods of improving biological age, and that biological age may be a valuable method of assessing geroprotective interventions in older humans.

Keywords: Biological age; diet; exercise; lifestyle; older adults with obesity.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Diet, Reducing
  • Healthy Aging*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / complications
  • Weight Loss* / physiology