Didier Brassard, PhD RD

School of Human Nutrition
McGill University

Estimating the effect of adhering to Canada’s Food Guide 2019 recommendations on 3-year changes in muscle strength and function in older adults: a target trial emulation

In this study, we investigated the extent to which following Canada’s Food Guide 2019 recommendations improved muscle strength and function in older adults. Since conducting a large, randomized trial was impractical, we used the target trial emulation framework for causal inference based on observational data. The analysis included 1,561 adults aged 67 or older from the NuAge study. Over a 3-year follow-up, we simulated how hypothetical interventions would have modified muscle strength and function compared to maintaining usual habits. More precisely, in the hypothetical trial, participants would be instructed to meet sex-specific minimal intakes for vegetables and fruits, whole grains, animal- and plant-based protein foods, milk and plant-based beverages, and unsaturated fats and oils, aiming for a dietary pattern consistent with Canada’s Food Guide recommendations. Emulating a target trial provided the first evidence of the adequacy of Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for older adults in relation to health outcomes. The findings can inform future controlled trials, clinical practice, and dietary guidelines.

Speaker/Chair Bio:

Didier Brassard is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at McGill University where he works with Prof. Stéphanie Chevalier to examine the adequacy of Canada's Food Guide recommendations on healthy food choices for older adults. He obtained his PhD in Nutrition from Université Laval under the supervision of Prof. Benoît Lamarche and is a registered dietitian. His research focuses on the intersection of aging and nutritional epidemiology with a particular interest in employing innovative methods for causal inference as well as statistical modelling and correction of measurement errors in dietary intakes to address research questions.