Geriatric PTs: Prevent Frailty with Diet

Sep 06, 2022

Geriatric PTs: Prevent Frailty with Diet 

By Dr. Sean M. Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, CNPT, ATC/L, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, Cert-DN

Most physical therapists (PTs) that work with older adults know the importance of preventing their clients from reaching frailty. From falls, femur fractures, to loss of function, frailty can mean a significant change in the quality of life but also potentially earlier death. Doctors of Physical Therapy (DPT) offer older clients an array of treatments from strength exercises, therapeutic activities, balance programs, and functional exercise to mitigate the effects of frailty. But what if we could do more to help our older patients?

New research out of Harvard, and published in the Journal of Gerontology, demonstrates that diet plays a key role in the development of not only frailty but also depression in older adults. The Framingham Heart Study Offspring cohort provided the data used in the study, which include 1,701 non-frail individuals who provided...

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Geriatric Physical Therapy and Nutrition

Sep 30, 2020

By Dr. Sean M. Wells

Many facets of nutrition can impact older adults' function and health. The focus on this blog article will be to highlight how inflammation, which can be mediated via diet, impacts older adult function and health. 

Using the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII), physical therapists can quantify the amount of inflammation a client's diet is provoking. Essentially the score ranges from as low as -5 to as high as 5, with a "fast food diet being reported at 4 and a macrobiotic diet being listed at -5. Probably the best diets on the DII are vegetarian Indian diets and other Asian diets rich in vegetables and spices. Another way of "scoring" or ranking the inflammation cause by a diet is to use an A-F system. An "A" score would be ideal and the most negative (e.g. close to -5, which is the least inflammatory), while "F" is the most inflammatory (e.g. most positive, 5). An average, or "C" score, would be a 0. 

 Using the DII, PTs can see how diet...

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