Well-Balanced Diet Linked to Improved Survival in Elderly

High intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, low-fat dairy tied to higher life quality

TUESDAY, Dec. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A diet consisting of a high intake of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables appears to be associated with improved survival and quality of life among older adults, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Amy L. Anderson, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland in College Park, and colleagues determined the dietary patterns of a cohort of older adults, aged 70 to 79, and explored associations of these dietary patterns with survival over a 10-year period. The investigators also assessed participants' quality of life and nutritional status according to their dietary patterns. They used cluster analysis to derive the dietary patterns of the 2,582 subjects with complete data.

The investigators identified six dietary pattern clusters, including a Healthy Foods cluster, which was characterized by higher intake of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables. After adjusting for potential confounders, the High-Fat Dairy Products and Sweets and Desserts clusters had a 1.4-fold higher risk of mortality than the Healthy Foods cluster. Compared to the other clusters, the Healthy Foods cluster had significantly more years of healthy life and more favorable levels of certain nutritional biomarkers.

"A dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and low-fat dairy products may be associated with superior nutritional status, quality of life, and survival in older adults," the authors write.

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