Page last updated: December 4, 2018
Mediterranean diet and mortality in the elderly: a prospective cohort study and a meta-analysis

The Mediterranean diet (MD) has been associated with prolonged survival in the general population, but no meta-analysis has apparently investigated the potential health benefits in relation to mortality in the elderly.

A research team performed a longitudinal analysis on 5,200 individuals aged ≥65 years from the general population and recruited in the Moli-sani study cohort (2005-2010). Adherence to the MD was appraised by the a priori Mediterranean diet score (MDS; range 0-9). Survival estimates were derived using Cox regression and competing risk models.

A one-point increase in the MDS was associated with lower risk of all-cause, coronary artery disease/cerebrovascular and non-cardiovascular/ non-cancer mortality (multi-variable hazard ratio (HR)=0·94; 95 % CI 0·90, 0·98; HR=0·91; 95 % CI 0·83, 0·99 and HR=0·89; 95 % CI 0·81, 0·96, respectively).

For the meta-analysis, PubMed and Scopus databases were searched from inception until April 2018 to identify prospective studies on the MD and death risk in the elderly. Over a median follow-up of 8·1 years, a total of 900 deaths were ascertained in the elderly sub-sample of the Molisani cohort.

In the meta-analysis of seven prospective studies, including the main study results, for a total of 11,738 participants and 3,874 deaths, one-point increment in MDS was associated with 5% (4-7 %) lower risk of all-cause death. An inverse linear dose-response relationship was found from a meta-analysis including three studies.

The authors conclude that both their prospective cohort study and a meta-analysis showed that closer adherence to the MD was associated with prolonged survival in elderly individuals, suggesting the appropriateness for older persons to adopt/preserve the MD to maximise their prospects for survival.

Source: Mediterranean diet and mortality in the elderly: a prospective cohort study and a meta-analysis. Bonaccio M, Di Castelnuovo A, Costanzo S, Gialluisi A, Persichillo M, Cerletti C, Donati MB, de Gaetano G, Iacoviello L. Br J Nutr. 2018 Oct;120(8):841-854.

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