European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 58, Issue 4, pp 1579–1590 | Cite as

What is the relationship between physical fitness level and macro- and micronutrient intake in Spanish older adults?

  • R. Aparicio-Ugarriza
  • R. Luzardo-Socorro
  • G. Palacios
  • M. M. Bibiloni
  • E. Argelich
  • J. A. Tur
  • Marcela González-GrossEmail author
Original Contribution



The aim of this study was to assess the association between physical fitness (PF) and energy and nutrient intake in Spanish older adults.


Three hundred and twenty-four participants (59.9% females, aged over 55 years) performed a battery of four validated PF tests and participants were divided into three: low, medium, and high PF. Dietary intake was assessed by two non-consecutive 24 h dietary recalls. Energy and nutrient intake was calculated using the ALIMENTA software. Energy expenditure (EE) was calculated using a validated questionnaire.


Median energy intake (EI) was 2135, 1999, and 2111 kcal/day in the low, medium, and high PF in males, respectively. In females, the median EI was 1576, 1564, and 1625 kcal/day in the low, medium, and high PF groups. There were significant and positive associations between participants in the high PF group and intake of phosphorous, selenium, vitamin B6, C, D, E, niacin, and folates (all p < 0.05). However, subjects in the high PF group presented negative associations with thiamine and riboflavin intake (all p < 0.05). A total of 8.3% of participants presented inadequate intake of 11 micronutrients. PF seems to affect total nutrient intake.


Higher protein and fat intake was observed in the high PF group compared to the other PF groups in males, although participants in the high PF group had also higher EE. However, females presented different patterns. In both sexes participants in the high PF group showed a better micronutrient intake profile than the other PF groups. There is a need to develop combined nutritional and fitness programs.


Physical fitness Macronutrients Micronutrients Diet records Aging Energy expenditure 



The authors are grateful to all of the participants who took part in the PHYSMED study and to all the researchers who set up the data for further analysis. Special thanks to Ms. Raquel Seco for technical assistance and Laura Barrios for her statistical assistance. ImFINE and NUCOX are members of the EXERNET research network ( Raquel Aparicio-Ugarriza was supported with a predoctoral grant from the Technical University of Madrid.

Author contributions

RAU, GP, and MGG analyzed the data, and drafted and wrote the manuscript. RLS, MB, EA, and JAT contributed to the analysis. MGG and JAT designed the study and wrote the protocol. All read and approved the final manuscript.


The PHYSMED study took place with the financial support of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, Instituto de Salud Carlos III (Projects 11/01791 and 14/00636, Red Predimed-RETIC RD06/0045/1004, and CIBEROBN CB12/03/30038). Grant of support to research groups no. 35/2011 (Balearic Islands Gov.), and European Union FEDER funds. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors do not declare any conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

394_2018_1696_MOESM1_ESM.docx (40 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 39 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. Aparicio-Ugarriza
    • 1
  • R. Luzardo-Socorro
    • 1
  • G. Palacios
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. M. Bibiloni
    • 2
    • 3
  • E. Argelich
    • 2
    • 3
  • J. A. Tur
    • 2
    • 3
  • Marcela González-Gross
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.ImFINE Research Group, Department of Health and Human Performance, Faculty of Physical Activity and Sport Science-INEFUniversidad Politécnica de MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.CIBEROBN (Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition CB12/03/30038)MadridSpain
  3. 3.Research Group on Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress (NUCOX)University of Balearic IslandsPalma de MallorcaSpain

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