Article

AGE

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 439-450

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Does the Mediterranean diet predict longevity in the elderly? A Swedish perspective

  • Gianluca TognonAffiliated withPublic Health Epidemiology Unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy Email author 
  • , Elisabet RothenbergAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Nutrition, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy
  • , Gabriele EibenAffiliated withPublic Health Epidemiology Unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy
  • , Valter SundhAffiliated withPublic Health Epidemiology Unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy
  • , Anna WinkvistAffiliated withDepartment of Clinical Nutrition, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy
  • , Lauren LissnerAffiliated withPublic Health Epidemiology Unit, Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy

Abstract

Dietary pattern analysis represents a useful improvement in the investigation of diet and health relationships. Particularly, the Mediterranean diet pattern has been associated with reduced mortality risk in several studies involving both younger and elderly population groups. In this research, relationships between dietary macronutrient composition, as well as the Mediterranean diet, and total mortality were assessed in 1,037 seventy-year-old subjects (540 females) information. Diet macronutrient composition was not associated with mortality, while a refined version of the modified Mediterranean diet index showed a significant inverse association (HR = 0.93, 95% CI: 0.89; 0.98). As expected, inactive subjects, smokers and those with a higher waist circumference had a higher mortality, while a reduced risk characterized married and more educated people. Sensitivity analyses (which confirmed our results) consisted of: exclusion of one food group at a time in the Mediterranean diet index, exclusion of early deaths, censoring at fixed follow-up time, adjusting for activities of daily living and main cardiovascular risk factors including weight/waist circumference changes at follow up. In conclusion, we can reasonably state that a higher adherence to a Mediterranean diet pattern, especially by consuming wholegrain cereals, foods rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and a limited amount of alcohol, predicts increased longevity in the elderly.

Keywords

Elderly Mediterranean diet Diet quality Macronutrient intake Diet adherence Mortality