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J Nutr. 2001 Sep;131(9):2441S-6S.

The impact of nutritional supplementation and resistance training on the health functioning of free-living Chilean elders: results of 18 months of follow-up.

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  • 1Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology (INTA), University of Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Body composition changes and loss of functionality in the elderly are related to substandard diets and progressive sedentariness. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of an 18-mo nutritional supplementation and resistance training program on health functioning of elders. Healthy elders aged > or = 70 y were studied. Half of the subjects received a nutritional supplement. Half of the supplemented and nonsupplemented subjects were randomly assigned to a resistance exercise training program. Every 6 mo, a full assessment was performed. A total of 149 subjects were considered eligible for the study and 98 (31 supplemented and trained, 26 supplemented, 16 trained and 25 without supplementation or training) completed 18 mo of follow-up. Compliance with the supplement was 48%, and trained subjects attended 56% of programmed sessions. Activities of daily living remained constant in the supplemented subjects and decreased in the other groups. Body weight and fat-free mass did not change. Fat mass increased from 22.2 +/- 7.6 to 24.1 +/- 7.7 kg in all groups. Bone mineral density decreased less in both supplemented groups than in the nonsupplemented groups (ANOVA, P < 0.01). Serum cholesterol remained constant in both supplemented groups and in the trained groups, but it increased in the control group (ANOVA, P < 0.05). Upper and lower limb strength, walking capacity and maximal inspiratory pressure increased in trained subjects. In conclusion, patients who were receiving nutritional supplementation and resistance training maintained functionality, bone mineral density and serum cholesterol levels and improved their muscle strength.

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