Elements of Mediterranean Diet Add Up to Lower Mortality

Single unidimensional diet score successfully integrates different factors
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 24 (HealthDay News) -- Different elements of the Mediterranean diet contribute to its beneficial effect on overall mortality, according to a study published online on June 23 in BMJ.

Antonia Trichopoulou, M.D., of the University of Athens Medical School in Greece, and colleagues conducted a study of 23,349 men and women with no previous diagnosis of cancer, coronary heart disease or diabetes, who gave information on their diet and who were followed up for a mean 8.5 years.

Among the 12,694 subjects with Mediterranean diet scores of zero to four, there were 652 deaths during follow-up, and among the 10,655 participants with scores of five and above there were 423 deaths, the researchers found. The different components of the Mediterranean diet contributed to the overall reduction in total mortality, including 23.5 percent contributed by low alcohol consumption, 16.6 percent by low consumption of meat and meat products, and 16.2 percent from high vegetable intake, the investigators note.

"An analysis of this type cannot provide universally applicable results, because diet varies across populations and also between sections of the same population," the authors write. "Nevertheless, our results indicate that the Mediterranean diet score that has been widely used is an effective predictor of mortality because it integrates associations with mortality of many individual components in a single unidimensional score."

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