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Milk, fruit and vegetables reduce disability

02/10/2005 - News

Milk, fruit and vegetables reduce disability

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Milk, fruit and vegetables reduce disability

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

People who eat recommended amounts of dairy, fruit and vegetables have a 30 per cent lower risk of disability compared to those who do not.
Disability robs older people of their independence and quality of life. It's known that smoking, lack of exercise, and obesity contribute to disability - but little is known of the impact of diet. As part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study, researchers now report on how consumption of diary products, fruit and vegetables can protect from disability.

Participants aged between 45 and 64 were asked about their diet and assessed on activities of daily living nine years on. Those who consumed recommended amounts of diary products, fruit and vegetables did better - and this was especially true for black women.

The recommended amounts are two servings of dairy, three of fruit and three of vegetables. It may be that calcium and vitamin D protect the bones and muscles and so ward off disability. Or perhaps the antioxidants in fruit and vegetables protect against chronic disease which can lead to disability. Whatever the reason, the study shows how a good diet can help keep you strong and active in later life.

Source
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition February 2005

Created on: 02/10/2005
Reviewed on: 02/10/2005

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