Food and Behaviour Research

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Association Between Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet at Midlife and Healthy Aging in a Cohort of French Adults

Assmann KE, Adjibade M, Andreeva VA, Hercberg S, Galan P, Kesse-Guyot E (2018) J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci.  2018 Mar 2;73(3): 347-354. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glx066. 

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The Mediterranean diet has been suggested as a key element for the prevention of age-related chronic diseases. However, very few studies have examined its relation with multidimensional concepts of healthy aging (HA). Our objective was thus to investigate the association between adherence to the Mediterranean diet at midlife and HA.


We analyzed data from 3,012 participants of the French SUpplémentation en Vitamines et Minéraux AntioXydants (SU.VI.MAX) study aged 45-60 years at baseline (1994-1995) and initially free of major chronic diseases, with available data on HA status in 2007-2009. We defined HA as not developing major chronic disease (cancer, cardiovascular disease, or diabetes), good physical and cognitive functioning (evaluated by validated, standardized tests), independence in instrumental activities of daily living, no depressive symptoms, good social functioning, good self-perceived health, and no function-limiting pain. An index assessing adherence to the Mediterranean diet, the Literature-based Adherence Score to the Mediterranean Diet (LAMD) was calculated using baseline data from repeated 24-hour dietary records.


In 2007-2009, 38% of participants met the HA criteria. Multivariable logistic regression revealed that higher scores on the LAMD (ORTertile 3 vs Tertile 1: 1.36 [1.12; 1.65]) were associated with higher odds of HA. Supplementary analyses using structural equation modeling revealed a potential mediation of the observed associations by metabolic health-related factors.


Our results suggest a favorable role of a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet at midlife for maintaining good overall health during aging.


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