Dietary Patterns and Survival of Older Adults



      Recent research has linked overall dietary patterns to survival in older adults.


      The objective of this study was to determine the dietary patterns of a cohort of older adults, and to explore associations of these dietary patterns with survival over a 10-year period. A secondary goal was to evaluate participants' quality of life and nutritional status according to their dietary patterns.


      The Health, Aging, and Body Composition Study is a prospective cohort study of 3,075 older adults. In this study, all-cause mortality was assessed from baseline through Year 10. Food intake was estimated with a modified Block food frequency questionnaire, and dietary patterns of 2,582 participants with complete data were derived by cluster analysis.


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


      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.
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      A. L. Anderson is a postdoctoral researcher, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.


      N. R. Sahyoun is an associate professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD.


      T. B. Harris is chief, Geriatric Epidemiology Section, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD.


      F. A. Tylavsky is a professor, Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN.


      S. E. Perry is a PhD research assistant, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA.


      D. K. Houston is an assistant professor, Sticht Center on Aging, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.


      T. F. Hue is an epidemiologist, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco.


      E. S. Strotmeyer is an assistant professor, Center for Aging and Population Health, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA.