Association between Intake of Energy and Macronutrients and Memory Impairment Severity in US Older Adults, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011–2014

Nutrients, Vol. 12 (2020)

  • Qinran Liu
  • Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33136, USA
  • Jianjun Guo
  • Sports and Medicine Integration Center, Capital University of Physical Education and Sports, Beijing 100191, China
  • Liang Hu
  • Department of Sport and Exercise Science, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
  • Nicola Veronese
  • Department of Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, University of Palermo, 90133 Palermo, Italy
  • Lee Smith
  • The Cambridge Centre for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge CB1 1PT, UK
  • Lin Yang
  • Department of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research, Cancer Care Alberta, Alberta Health Services, Calgary, AB T2S 3C3, Canada
  • Chao Cao
  • Program in Physical Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO 63110, USA


Without a cure, dementia affects about 50 million people worldwide. Understanding the effects of dietary habits, a key lifestyle behavior, on memory impairment is critical to inform early behavioral modification to delay further memory loss and progression to dementia. We examined the associations of total energy intake and energy intake from macronutrients with memory impairment among older US adults using data from the nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey study 2011–2014. A total of 3623 participants aged ≥60 years were analyzed. Comparing to those with low total energy intake, individuals with high intake were more likely to have severe memory impairment (OR: 1.52, 95% CI: 1.15 to 2.02; ptrend = 0.005). Specifically, higher energy intake from carbohydrate (OR: 1.59, 95% CI: 1.12 to 2.26) and sugar (OR: 1.54, 95% CI: 1.11 to 2.16) were both significantly associated with the presence of memory impairment. Additionally, higher energy intake from fat, carbohydrate and sugar were significantly associated with more server memory impairment (fat: ptrend = 0.04; carbohydrate: ptrend = 0.03; sugar: ptrend = 0.02). High energy intake, either total or from carbohydrates, fat or sugar, is associated with memory impairment severity in the older US population. No such association was found in energy intake from protein.

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