Background and Aims: Diabetes and dysglycemia increase the risk of frailty and decreased physical abilities. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet (MD) may reduce this risk. We hypothesized that adherence to the MD is associated with physical function in older type-2 diabetic patients and that the association is stratified by age. Methods and Results: We recruited type-2 diabetes patients aged >60 years at the Center for Successful Aging with Diabetes at Sheba Medical Center. Health status and demographic data were obtained from medical records. Food Frequency Questionnaire was used for nutritional assessment and calculation of MD score. Physical function indices were determined by a physiotherapist and included: Berg Balance test, Timed Get-Up-and-Go, 6-min walk (6 MW), 10-m walk (10 MW), Four Square Step Test, 30-s chair stand and Grip strength, and activities and instrumental activities of daily living. Among 117 participants (age 70.6 ± 6.5), high adherence to MD was associated with better score on functional tests (low vs. high MD adherence: 9.7% vs. 25%, ANOVA p
= 0.02). A significant age by MD interaction was found: a higher adherence to MD was associated with a better 6 MW (low vs. high: 387 ± 35 m vs. 483 ± 26 m; p
= 0.001) and higher 10 MW (low vs. high: 1.8 ± 0.16 m/s vs. 2.0 ± 0.13 m/s; p
= 0.02) in participants aged >75 years. These associations remained significant after controlling for gender, age, BMI, and physical activity. Conclusion: In the current study, we showed relationships between strength, physical performance, and MD among older diabetic patients. Future studies are needed to confirm this association and establish temporal relationships.
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