The frail elderly make up a group particularly vulnerable to nutritional deficiencies. To develop feasible interventions that will keep the frail elderly healthy and strong at home, we need to learn more about their nutritional and health status, so we performed an intervention study randomizing 161 frail elderly into 1 of 4 Intervention groups: nutrientdense foods, exercise, combination (nutrient-dense foods and exercise), or placebo (control). When taste and smell performance, appetite, dietary intake, body composition, and several biochemical parameters were studied after 17 weeks of intervention, the group receiving nutrient-dense foods had increased blood nutrient values and decreased homocysteine levels. The results also suggest a beneficial effect on bone mass and density for those consuming enriched foods compared to controls, although this needs further clinical confirmation. Exercise preserved lean body mass and energy intake. Nutrient-dense foods coupled with exercise may be both successful and feasible interventions in public health programs.
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