Purpose: Evidence-based guidelines on nutrition and physical activity are used to increase knowledge in order to promote a healthy lifestyle. However, actual knowledge of guidelines is limited and whether it is associated with health outcomes is unclear. Participants and Methods: This inception cohort study aimed to investigate the association of knowledge of nutrition and physical activity guidelines with objective measures of physical function and physical activity in community-dwelling older adults attending a public engagement event in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Knowledge of nutrition and physical activity according to Dutch guidelines was assessed using customized questionnaires. Gait speed and handgrip strength were proxies of physical function and the Minnesota Leisure Time Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess physical activity in minutes/week. Linear regression analysis, stratified by gender and adjusted for age, was used to study the association between continuous and categorical knowledge scores with outcomes. Results: In 106 older adults (mean age=70.1 SD=6.6, years) who were highly educated, well-functioning, and generally healthy, there were distinct knowledge gaps in nutrition and physical activity which did not correlate with one another (R2=0.013, p=0.245). Knowledge of nutrition or physical activity guidelines was not associated with physical function or physical activity. However, before age-adjustment nutrition knowledge was positively associated with HGS in males (B= 0.64 (95% CI: 0.05, 1.22)) and having knowledge above the median was associated with faster gait speed in females (B=0.10 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.19)). Conclusion: Our findings may represent a ceiling effect of the impact knowledge has on physical function and activity in the this high performing and educated population and that there may be other determinants of behavior leading to health status such as attitude and perception to consider in future studies.
- health knowledge
- physical performance