The journal of nutrition, health & aging

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 221–227

Dietary patterns as predictors of successful ageing

  • Allison M. Hodge
  • K. O’Dea
  • D. R. English
  • G. G. Giles
  • L. Flicker

DOI: 10.1007/s12603-013-0405-0

Cite this article as:
Hodge, A.M., O’Dea, K., English, D.R. et al. J Nutr Health Aging (2014) 18: 221. doi:10.1007/s12603-013-0405-0



To examine associations between dietary patterns identified by factor analysis, and successful ageing.


Prospective cohort study with diet measured in 1990-4, and successful ageing in 2003-7. Ordered logistic regression with outcome determined as dead/usual ageing/successful ageing was used to examine associations with quintile groups of dietary factor scores.


Men and women (n=6308), without history of major illness at baseline, and aged >70 years at follow-up, or who had died before follow-up but would have been aged >70 at the commencement of follow-up, from the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study.


Frequencies of intake of 121 foods at baseline were collected in a food frequency questionnaire. Anthropometry and other health and lifestyle data were collected. At follow-up, questionnaire data relating to mental health, physical function and medical history were used to define successful ageing.


Four dietary factors were identified, characterized by higher loadings for (1) vegetables; (2) fruit, (3) feta, legumes, salad, olive oil, and inverse loadings for tea, margarine, cake, sweet biscuits and puddings; (4) meat, white bread, savoury pastry dishes and fried foods. In models excluding body size, the second factor ‘Fruit’ was positively associated with successful ageing (OR in top 20% vs lowest 20% of score 1.31, 95%CI (1.05–1.63), p trend across quintile groups 0.001); while the fourth factor ‘Meat/fatty foods’ was inversely associated (OR in top 20% vs lowest 20% of score 0.69, 95%CI (0.55–0.86), p trend across quintile groups 0.001). Factors 1 and 3 did not show significant associations with successful ageing. The association for ‘Fruit’ was little altered after adjustment for body size, while for ‘Meat/fatty foods’ the association was somewhat attenuated.


A dietary pattern including plenty of fruit while limiting meat and fried foods may improve the likelihood of ageing successfully.

Key words

Successful ageingdietary patternsprospective study

Copyright information

© Serdi and Springer-Verlag France 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Allison M. Hodge
    • 1
    • 7
  • K. O’Dea
    • 2
  • D. R. English
    • 1
    • 3
  • G. G. Giles
    • 1
  • L. Flicker
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Cancer Epidemiology CentreCancer Council VictoriaMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Sansom InstituteUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  3. 3.Centre for MEGA Epidemiology, School of Population HealthUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  4. 4.Western Australian Centre for Health and AgeingWestern Australian Institute for Medical ResearchPerthAustralia
  5. 5.School of Medicine and PharmacologyUniversity of Western AustraliaCrawleyAustralia
  6. 6.Department of Geriatric MedicineRoyal Perth HospitalPerthAustralia
  7. 7.Research Coordinator-Core Programs, Cancer Epidemiology CentreThe Cancer Council of VictoriaCarltonAustralia