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Healthy diet helps mobility as you age

A new study has found that healthy diet reduces a woman's risk of physical disability as she grows older.

Healthy diet helps mobility as you age

"Little research has been done on how diet impacts physical function later in life. We study the connection between diet and many other aspects of health, but we don't know much about diet and mobility," said study senior author Francine Grodstein, from Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
"We wanted to look at diet patterns and try to learn how our overall diet impacts our physical function as we get older," she explained in a hospital news release.

For the study, Grodstein and her colleagues analyzed data from almost 55,000 women in the national Nurses' Health Study who had their physical function assessed every four years from 1992 to 2008. The participants were also made to complete questionnaires about their eating habits.

The study showed that those who ate healthier diets were less likely to develop mobility problems than those with less healthy diets. According to researchers, high consumption of vegetables and fruits, moderate alcohol intake, and low consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, trans fats and salt were each associated with a reduced risk of physical impairment.

The findings of the study were published in detail in the July issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

"We think a lot about chronic diseases, cancer, heart disease, and tend not to think of physical function," said study first author Kaitlin Hagan, a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's. "Physical function is crucial as you age; it includes being able to get yourself dressed, walk around the block, and could impact your ability to live independently."