Dietary pattern analysis is an emerging approach to investigate the association between diet and frailty. This study examined the association of dietary patterns with frailty in 2724 Chinese community-dwelling men and women aged > 65 years. Baseline dietary data were collected using a food frequency questionnaire between 2001 and 2003. Adherence to a priori
dietary patterns, including the Diet Quality Index-International (DQI-I) and the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) was assessed. Factor analysis identified three a posteriori
dietary patterns, namely “vegetables-fruits”, “snacks-drinks-milk products”, and “meat-fish”. Incident frailty was defined using the FRAIL scale. Binary logistic regression was applied to examine the associations between dietary patterns and four-year incident frailty. There were 31 (1.1%) incident frailty cases at four years. Every 10-unit increase in DQI-I was associated with 41% reduced risk of frailty in the sex- and age-adjusted model (odds ratio (OR) (95% confidence interval (CI)): 0.59 (0.42–0.85), p
= 0.004). The association attenuated in the multivariate adjusted model (0.69 (0.47–1.02), p
= 0.056). No association between other dietary patterns and incident frailty was observed. Our study showed that a better diet quality as characterized by higher DQI-I was associated with lower odds of developing frailty. The contribution of MDS or a posteriori
dietary patterns to the development of frailty in Chinese older people remains to be explored.
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