The longitudinal relationship between dietary intake, physical activity and muscle strength among adolescents

Ai Kah Ng, Noran Naqiah Hairi, Maznah Dahlui, Tin Tin Su, Muhammad Yazid Jalaludin, Hazreen Abdul Majid

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6 Citations (Scopus)


The longitudinal relationship between muscle strength, dietary intake and physical activity among adolescents is not well understood. We investigated the trend and longitudinal effects of dietary intakes and physical activity scores on muscle strength in adolescents. This prospective cohort study consisted of 436 adolescents (134 males; 302 females) aged 13 years at baseline (2012) who were followed up at the ages of 15 (2014) and 17 (2016) years, respectively. We measured muscle strength using a calibrated hand dynamometer, estimated dietary intake with a 7-d dietary history and physical activity scores with a validated physical activity questionnaire for older children. A generalised estimating equation was used to examine the effect of dietary intakes and physical activity on muscle strength changes. The analysis was performed separately by sex. The muscle strength for males and females had increased within the 5-year period. The dietary intakes (energy and macronutrients) also increased initially but plateaued after the age of 15 years for both sexes. Females recorded a significant declining trend in physical activity scores compared with males as they grew older. A significant positive longitudinal relationship was found between protein (β = 0·035; P = 0·016), carbohydrate intake (β = 0·002; P = 0·013) and muscle strength among males. However, no longitudinal relationship was found between dietary intake, physical activity and muscle strength among females. Higher protein and carbohydrate intake among males was associated with higher muscle strength but was not observed in females. Nutrition and physical activity focusing on strength building are required in early adolescence and need to be tailored to males and females accordingly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1207-1218
Number of pages12
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2020


  • Adolescents
  • Dietary intake
  • Hand grip strength
  • Longitudinal studies
  • Muscle strength
  • Physical activity
  • Prospective studies

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