This study aims to describe levels of physical frailty (disability), nutritional status, related health status and health behaviors in 900 Massachusetts Hispanics aged 60 years and older and 300 non-Hispanic white (NHW) neighborhood controls; and to evaluate relationships between diet, nutrition and frailty cross-sectionally. It is hypothesized that 1) Hispanic groups living in the Northeast, and Puerto Ricans in particular, have greater levels of frailty, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and hyperlipidemia than do neighborhood controls; 2) that prevalence and severity of frailty are associated with these diet-related chronic health conditions; and that dietary and other patterns of health behavior are associated with the prevalence and control of these chronic conditions, and with frailty. Using a two stage sampling technique with probability proportionate to size, elder Hispanics will be identified based on their appearance in 1990 Census block level data. A comparison group of NHWs will be selected from those neighborhoods in which Hispanics are resident. The prevalence survey will include measures of frailty (ADL, IADL, disability days...); health status and history (diabetes and complications, hypertension, cardiovascular problems...); nutritional factors (dietary intake, body size and composition, blood lipids...); health behaviors (smoking, alcohol use, exercise...); and situational factors (SES, living arrangements, employment and migration history, acculturation, social support, use of health services...). Special attention will be given to disease associated frailty and to relationships between diabetes, diabetic complications and dietary habits. Information on the health and nutrition of elderly Puerto Ricans, Dominicans and Central and South Americans living in the Northeastern U.S. is very limited (HHANES examined only 144 Puerto Ricans aged 60-74 years). Hispanics, particularly those in low income groups, appear to suffer from excessive health problems, especially diabetes and associated co-morbidity. Among Hispanics, there is some evidence that Puerto Ricans experience excess risk. The results of this study will provide greatly needed estimates of the age distribution and extent of frailty, health and nutrition problems of Hispanic elderly in the Northeast and valuable information on factors associated with these problems, useful for planning and targeting programs. They will also provide baseline data for follow-up studies to measure incidence of key problems and to clarify causal relationships between nutrition, health and frailty in these groups.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Neuroscience, Behavior and Sociology of Aging Review Committee (NBSA)
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Tufts University
Schools of Medicine
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Rodriguez-Galan, Marta B; Falcon, Luis M (2009) Perceived problems with access to medical care and depression among older Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, other Hispanics, and a comparison group of non-Hispanic Whites. J Aging Health 21:501-18
Merete, Cristina; Falcon, Luis M; Tucker, Katherine L (2008) Vitamin B6 is associated with depressive symptomatology in Massachusetts elders. J Am Coll Nutr 27:421-7
Seaverson, Erin L; Buell, Jennifer S; Fleming, Diana J et al. (2007) Poor iron status is more prevalent in Hispanic than in non-Hispanic white older adults in Massachusetts. J Nutr 137:414-20
Gao, Xiang; Nelson, Miriam E; Tucker, Katherine L (2007) Television viewing is associated with prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Hispanic elders. Diabetes Care 30:694-700
Gao, Xiang; Martin, Antonio; Lin, Hai et al. (2006) alpha-Tocopherol intake and plasma concentration of Hispanic and non-Hispanic white elders is associated with dietary intake pattern. J Nutr 136:2574-9
Bermudez, Odilia I; Ribaya-Mercado, Judy D; Talegawkar, Sameera A et al. (2005) Hispanic and non-Hispanic white elders from Massachusetts have different patterns of carotenoid intake and plasma concentrations. J Nutr 135:1496-502
Gao, Xiang; Bermudez, Odilia I; Tucker, Katherine L (2004) Plasma C-reactive protein and homocysteine concentrations are related to frequent fruit and vegetable intake in Hispanic and non-Hispanic white elders. J Nutr 134:913-8
Gao, Xiang; Wilde, Parke E; Maras, Janice E et al. (2004) The maximal amount of alpha-tocopherol intake from foods alone in U.S. adults (1994-1996 CSFII): an analysis by linear programming. Ann N Y Acad Sci 1031:385-6
Lin, Hai; Bermudez, Odilia I; Tucker, Katherine L (2003) Dietary patterns of Hispanic elders are associated with acculturation and obesity. J Nutr 133:3651-7
Kwan, Laurinda L; Bermudez, Odilia I; Tucker, Katherine L (2002) Low vitamin B-12 intake and status are more prevalent in Hispanic older adults of Caribbean origin than in neighborhood-matched non-Hispanic whites. J Nutr 132:2059-64

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