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Coffee Consumption and Risk of Physical Function Impairment, Frailty and Disability in Older Adults

M D Machado-Fragua et al, 2018.
European Journal of Nutrition, published online.
March 21, 2018



Habitual coffee consumption has been associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Since these diseases are main determinants of functional limitations, we have tested the hypothesis that coffee intake is associated with lower risk of physical function impairment, frailty and disability in older adults. We focused on women and those with obesity, hypertension or type 2 diabetes because they are at higher risk of functional limitations.


Prospective study with 3289 individuals ≥ 60 years from the Seniors-ENRICA cohort. In 2008-2010 coffee consumption was measured through a validated dietary history. Participants were followed up until 2015 to ascertain incident impaired physical function, frailty and disability, assessed by both self-report and objective measures.


Compared with non-drinking coffee, consumption of ≥ 2 cups of coffee/day was associated with lower risk of impaired agility in women (hazard ratio [HR] 0.71, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.51-0.97, P trend 0.04) and in those with obesity (HR 0.60; 95% CI 0.40-0.90, P trend 0.04). Intake of ≥ 2 cups of coffee/day was also linked to reduced risk of impaired mobility in women (HR 0.66; 95% CI 0.46-0.95, P trend 0.02) and among individuals with hypertension (HR 0.70, 95% CI 0.48-1.00, P trend 0.05). Moreover, among subjects with diabetes, those who consumed ≥ 2 cups/day had lower risk of disability in activities of daily living (HR 0.30, 95% CI 0.11-0.76, P trend 0.01).


In older people, habitual coffee consumption was not associated with increased risk of functional impairment, and it might even be beneficial in women and those with hypertension, obesity or diabetes.

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