European researchers have found an inverse association between habitual (ie, daily) coffee drinking and the risk of falls in the elderly—and that inverse association was particularly strong among those who drank caffeinated! The association also held (although not to the same extent) for a lower risk of injurious falls. Furthermore, when looking at specific subgroups, the inverse association was consistent across sex, obesity, protein intake, sleep duration, physical activity, and alcohol consumption (all P interactions > .05).
The study appears in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and was conducted by Machado-Fragua and colleagues from the Department of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, School of Medicine, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. The aim of the study was to assess the association between routine coffee drinking and risk of different falls-related outcomes; the data are from 2964 participants in the Seniors-ENRICA cohort, and 8999 participants in the UK Biobank cohort. All participants were ≥ 60 years of age. Outcomes examined included ≥ 1 fall, injurious fall, and ≥ 1 fall with fracture.
Coffee consumption in the Seniors-ENRICA group was assessed based on prior dietary reporting, in which participants had answered questions about whether they drank caffeinated or decaffeinated coffee; how it was prepared (filtered, unfiltered, or instant); and size of the cup they typically use. Falls were assessed through 2015.
For the UK-Biobank group, coffee consumption was based on a minimum of 3 24-hour recall sessions conducted via telephone. Falls were assessed through 2016.
Of the more than 10,000 participants examined, 992 experienced ≥ 1 fall within the study period. After statistical adjustments for major lifestyle and dietary risk factors, and when compared with those who consumed < 1 cup/d, the pooled hazard ratio (HR) for daily coffee consumption of 1 cup/d was 0.75 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.52, 1.07); for daily coffee consumption of ≥ 2 cups/d, 0.74 (95% CI: 0.62, 0.90) (P trend = .001). When looking specifically at caffeinated coffee, HRs were 0.67 (95% CI: 0.42, 1.07) and 0.70 (95% CI: 0.56, 0.87), respectively (P trend < .001). Drinking decaffeinated coffee was not associated with falls.
Among the Seniors-ENRICA group that drank caffeinated coffee, the injurious falls HR was 0.83 (95% CI: 0.68, 1.00) for 1 cup/d and 0.83 (95% CI: 0.64, 1.09) for ≥ 2 cups/d (P trend = .09).
The authors concluded that habitual coffee consumption was associated with lower risk of falling in older adults in Spain and the United Kingdom. Their study adds to the research that shows coffee consumption has been associated with a lower rate of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and sarcopenia—all of which are strong risk factors for falls.
Source: Machado-Fragua MD, Struijk EA, Ballesteros JM, Ortolá R, Rodriguez-Artalejo F, Lopez-Garcia E. Habitual coffee consumption and risk of falls in 2 European cohorts of older adults. Am J Clin Nutr. 2019;109(5):1431-1438.