Adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with lower prevalence of obesity among elderly people living in Mediterranean islands: The MEDIS study

Stefanos Tyrovolas, Vassiliki Bountziouka, Natassa Papairakleous, Akis Zeimbekis, Foteini Anastassiou, Efthimios Gotsis, George Metallinos, Evangelos Polychronopoulos, Christos Lionis, Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: The aim of the present work was to evaluate the relationships between socio-demographic, clinical, lifestyle and psychological characteristics and the presence of obesity, among elderly individuals without known cardiovascular disease. Methods: During 2005-2007, 553 elderly men and 637 elderly women (mean age 74±7 years) from eight Mediterranean Islands in Greece and Cyprus were enrolled. The retrieved information included demographic, bio-clinical and dietary characteristics. The MedDietScore assessed adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern. Results: The prevalence of obesity was 27% in males and 41% in females (P <0.001), while 48% of males and 39% of females were overweight. The prevalence of diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and hypertension was higher in the obese elderly than in the overweight or normal (P <0.001). After adjusting for various confounders, one unit increase in the MedDietScore was associated with 88% (P =0.07) lower likelihood of being obese; similarly, physical activity was associated with 81% lower likelihood of obesity (P <0.001). Conclusions: Roughly seven out of 10 of our elderly were overweight or obese, while the majority of them presented other co-morbidities, too. Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet may reduce the burden of obesity among elderly individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Volume60
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2009

Keywords

  • Elderly
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Obesity

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