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Energy and macronutrient intakes at breakfast and cognitive declines in community-dwelling older adults: a 9-year follow-up cohort study


Shang, X and Hill, E and Li, Y and He, M, Energy and macronutrient intakes at breakfast and cognitive declines in community-dwelling older adults: a 9-year follow-up cohort study, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: A Journal Reporting The Practical Application of Our World-Wide Knowledge of Nutrition ISSN 0002-9165 (2021) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society for Nutrition

DOI: doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqaa403


Background: It is unclear whether breakfast consumption and breakfast composition are independently associated with changes in cognition over a long-term period in older adults.

Objectives: We aimed to examine the associations between energy and macronutrient intakes at breakfast and cognitive declines.

Methods: We included 2935 participants aged 55-93 y at baseline from the China Health and Nutrition Survey in our analysis. Cognition was assessed in 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, and 2015. Dietary intake was assessed using weighing methods in combination with 24-h food records.

Results: Breakfast contributed to 25.9% of total energy intake of the day and percentages of breakfast energy intake from protein, fat, and carbohydrates were 12.8%, 11.5%, and 75.7%, respectively. During a median follow-up of 9 y, the β values for changes in global cognitive z-scores for Quintile 5 of protein and fat intakes at breakfast, with Quintile 1 as the reference, were 0.13 (95% CI: 0.01-0.25) and 0.17 (95% CI: 0.04-0.30), respectively. Substitution of 5% energy from carbohydrates with equivalent energy from protein (β, 0.06; 95% CI: 0.01-0.11) or fat (β, 0.05; 95% CI: 0.02-0.08) at breakfast was positively associated with the change in the global cognitive z-score. Energy intake at breakfast was not significantly associated with the global cognitive z-score. Similar results were found for the verbal memory z-score. The positive association of breakfast fat intake and the inverse association of breakfast carbohydrate intake with cognitive declines were stronger in urban residents.

Conclusions: Higher intakes of protein and fat and lower intake of carbohydrates at breakfast were associated with a lower rate of cognitive decline in older adults. Substitution of carbohydrates with protein or fat intake at breakfast may help to delay or prevent cognitive declines.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:multimorbidity, epidemiology, patterns, disease, breakfast, cognitive decline, dietary carbohydrates, dietary fat; dietary protein, energy
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Nutrition and dietetics
Research Field:Nutrition and dietetics not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Specific population health (excl. Indigenous health)
Objective Field:Health related to ageing
UTAS Author:Hill, E (Dr Eddy Roccati)
ID Code:144067
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre
Deposited On:2021-04-19
Last Modified:2022-08-23

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