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Frailty: role of nutrition and exercise

Kelaiditi, Eirinia; van Kan, Gabor Abellana,b; Cesari, Matteoa,b,c

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: January 2014 - Volume 17 - Issue 1 - p 32–39
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0000000000000008
AGEING: BIOLOGY AND NUTRITION: Edited by Tommy Cederholm and John E. Morley

Purpose of review The scope of the current study is to provide an updated, comprehensive review of the recent literature (past 12 months), examining the role of nutrition and exercise on frailty.

Recent findings Over the past 12 months, seven studies with different designs explored the relationship between nutrition and frailty, four examined the role of exercise on frailty, and only one study investigated the combination of the two interventions. The only study combining an exercise program with a nutritional consultation reported a short-term (3 months) improvement of the frailty status. Nevertheless, this study (a feasibility pilot trial) was characterized by a relatively small sample size, low response rates, and poor compliance. Notably, available evidence shows considerable variability in participants’ selection, assessment methods, and outcomes of interest, so it is difficult to draw direct comparisons. Size effects or magnitude of associations across the different studies cannot also be determined.

Summary The present findings suggest the need of long-term, adequately powered, randomized controlled trials testing nutrition, exercise or both interventions for the treatment of frailty in the elders. Such evidence will greatly support the future design of preventive strategies against disability in older persons.

aGérontopôle, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse


cUniversité de Toulouse III Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France

Correspondence to Eirini Kelaiditi, PhD, Institut du Vieillissement, Gérontopôle, Université de Toulouse III-Paul Sabatier, 37 Allées Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse, France. Tel: +33 5 6114 5668; e-mail:

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins