Mediterranean diet and other lifestyle factors in relation to 20-year all-cause mortality: a cohort study in an Italian population

Federica Prinelli, Mary Yannakoulia, Costas A Anastasiou, Fulvio Adorni, Simona G Di Santo, Massimo Musicco, Nikolaos Scarmeas, Maria L Correa Leite
British Journal of Nutrition 2015 March 28, 113 (6): 1003-11
The aim of the present analysis was to evaluate the association of the Mediterranean diet (MeDi), smoking habits and physical activity with all-cause mortality in an Italian population during a 20-year follow-up study. A total of 1693 subjects aged 40-74 who enrolled in the study in 1991-5 were asked about dietary and other lifestyle information at baseline. Adherence to the MeDi was evaluated by the Mediterranean dietary score (MedDietScore). A healthy lifestyle score was computed by assigning 1 point each for a medium or high adherence to the MedDietScore, non-smoking and physical activity. Cox models were used to assess the associations between lifestyle factors and healthy lifestyle scores and all-cause mortality, adjusting for potential confounders. The final sample included 974 subjects with complete data and without chronic disease at baseline. During a median of 17·4 years of follow-up, 193 people died. Subjects with high adherence to the MedDietScore (hazard ratio (HR) 0·62, 95 % CI 0·43, 0·89)), non-smokers (HR 0·71, 95 % CI 0·51, 0·98) and physically active subjects (HR 0·55, 95 % CI 0·36, 0·82) were at low risk of death. Each point increase in the MedDietScore was associated with a significant 5 % reduction of death risk. Subjects with 1, 2 or 3 healthy lifestyle behaviours had a significantly 39, 56, and 73 % reduced risk of death, respectively. A high adherence to MeDi, non-smoking and physical activity were strongly associated with a reduced risk of all-cause mortality in healthy subjects after long-term follow-up. This reduction was even stronger when the healthy lifestyle behaviours were combined.

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