European Geriatric Medicine

, Volume 9, Issue 5, pp 687–690 | Cite as

Happiness of the oldest-old men is associated with fruit and vegetable intakes

  • Satu K. JyväkorpiEmail author
  • A. Urtamo
  • K. H. Pitkälä
  • T. E. Strandberg
Research Paper



Positive emotions and happiness may improve health and prolong life. Diet quality, Mediterranean dietary pattern, fruit and vegetable, chocolate, and fish consumption have been linked to positive affect, improved mood, and reduced risk of depression. We examined the associations between diet, nutrition, and perceived happiness in the oldest-old men.


The participants in this cross-sectional analysis were the oldest-old, home-dwelling men (n = 338, mean age 88 years, range 82–97 years) from the longitudinal Helsinki Businessmen Study cohort. In 2016, a postal health and nutrition survey was performed. Happiness was evaluated using the Visual Analog Scale of Happiness (0–100 mm). The nutrition survey included a 3-day food diary, Mediterranean Diet Adherence score, and Index of Diet Quality designed to measure adherence to Finnish dietary recommendations. The participants were divided into quartiles according to happiness scores, and diet quality scores, food intakes, and other indicators were compared between the happiness quartiles.


Happiness was linearly associated with total fruit and vegetable intakes (p = 0.002) and inversely associated with age (p = 0.016), blood glucose levels (p = 0.049), skipping lunch (p = 0.023), reduced food intake (p = 0.002), and weight loss (p = 0.016).


Fruit and vegetable intakes indicated happiness in the oldest-old men while reduced food intakes and weight loss were inversely associated with happiness. Maintaining good nutrition and increasing fruit and vegetable consumption may be important for psychological health of older people.


Happiness Fruits and vegetables intake Oldest-old men Nutrition 



This work was supported by Päivikki and Sakari Sohlberg Foundation and Helsinki University Hospital EVO-funding. The sponsors did not have any role in the study design, analysis or interpretation of data, nor in writing the report or the decision to submit this article. The authors were independent researchers not associated with the funders.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

SKJ: reports no conflict of interest. AU: reports no conflict of interest. KHP: reports no conflict of interest. TES: reports having various educational and consultative cooperation with several companies, including Nutricia, Abbott, Amgen, Merck, Pfizer, Novartis, and Novo-Nordisk; a minor amount of stock in Orion Pharma; and is a board member and former president of executive board of European Union Geriatric Medicine Society which has cooperation also with the nutrition industry.

Ethical approval

The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Helsinki University Hospital, Department of Medicine.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satu K. Jyväkorpi
    • 1
    Email author
  • A. Urtamo
    • 1
  • K. H. Pitkälä
    • 1
  • T. E. Strandberg
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Unit of Primary Health Care, Department of General Practice and Primary Health CareHelsinki University Central Hospital, University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.University of Helsinki, Clinicum and Helsinki University HospitalHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.Center for Life Course Health ResearchUniversity of OuluOuluFinland

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