Physical performance is a major determinant of health in older adults, and is related to lifestyle factors. Dietary fiber has multiple health benefits. It remains unclear whether fiber intake is independently linked to superior physical performance. We aimed to assess the association between dietary fiber and physical performance in older adults.
This was a cross-sectional study conducted with community-dwelling adults aged 55 years and older (n=2680) from the ongoing Healthy Aging Longitudinal Study (HALST) in Taiwan 2008-2010. Daily dietary fiber intake was assessed using a validated food frequency questionnaire. Physical performance was determined objectively by measuring gait speed, 6-minute walk distance, timed “up and go” (TUG), summary performance score, hand grip strength.
Adjusting for all potential confounders, participants with higher fiber intake had significantly faster gait speed, longer 6-minute walk distance, faster TUG, higher summary performance score, and higher hand grip strength (all P <.05). Comparing with the highest quartile of fiber intake, the lowest quartile of fiber intake was significantly associated with the lowest sex-specific quartile of gait speed (adjusted OR, 2.18 in men [95% CI, 1.33-3.55] and 3.65 in women [95% CI, 2.20-6.05]), 6-minute walk distance (OR, 2.40 in men [95% CI, 1.38-4.17] and 4.32 in women [95% CI, 2.37-7.89]), TUG (OR, 2.42 in men [95% CI, 1.43-4.12] and 3.27 in women [95% CI, 1.94-5.52]), summary performance score (OR, 2.12 in men [95% CI, 1.19-3.78] and 5.47 in women [95% CI, 3.20-9.35]), and hand grip strength (OR, 2.64 in men [95% CI, 1.61-4.32] and 4.43 in women [95% CI, 2.62-7.50]).
Dietary fiber intake was independently associated with better physical performance.