Affiliations: [a] “S. Maugeri Foundation” IRCCS, Medical Centre of Lumezzane, Brescia, Italy | [b] Division of Human Anatomy, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Brescia, Viale Europa 11, 25124 Brescia, Italy. e-mail: [email protected]
| [c] Department of Sports Medicine, University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy | [d] Department of Sports Medicine, University of Padova, Padua, Italy | [e] Department of Medical and Surgical Sciences, Geriatric Unit, University of Brescia, Italy | [f] Health Agency of Brescia, Brescia, Brescia, Italy | [g] Department of Preventive and Predictive Medicine, Fondazione Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy
Abstract: Background and aim: A number of studies have investigated the nutritional habits of elderly people, but few studies have analysed either the nutritional habits or the physical activity of very old healthy people. Thus, in this study we investigated the dietary habits and the physical activity of a group of selected very old healthy Italian people. Methods and results: We studied 182 selected healthy subjects (70 men, 112 women) aged 75 to 85 years. The subject were visited by a multispecialist team to exclude any chronic and/or acute diseases. ECG, blood pressure, body mass index, tricipital skin-fold thickness and arm muscle diameter were evaluated. Total and HDL/LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, glycaemia, C-reactive protein and fibrinogen were measured. The EPIC questionnaire was used to evaluate nutritional habits and the Laval questionnaire to quantify energy expenditure during leisure time. ECG and blood variables were within normal ranges. The average risk score was very low. The anthropometric data showed both men and women to be slightly overweight. We found a high intake of saturated fats, β-carotene and vitamin C, and a reduced intake of calcium, potassium and vitamin E. The women had a high intake of proteins. Interestingly, the mean daily energy intake was in balance with energy expenditure from physical activity in both men and women on week days and as well as on Sundays. Conclusion: We hypothesize that genetic factors, antioxidant intake and, mainly, constant adequate physical activity are important to maintain a healthy life-style in very old people.