Healthier diets delay unhealthy ageing
Better-quality diets facilitate healthy ageing, slowing down the accumulation of deficits, particularly functional deterioration, a recent study has found.
Using the Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener (MEDAS), Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) and the Alternate Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010), researchers assessed diet quality in 2,042 ageing individuals (aged ≥60 years; 1,058 females). Ageing quality was measured using a 52-item health deficit accumulation index. Evaluations were performed over three waves.
Diet quality scores improved from baseline (wave 0) to wave 1 (MEDAS: mean change, 0.31, 95 percent CI, 0.22–0.40; MDS: mean change, 0.04, –0.04 to 0.14; AHEI-2010: mean change, 1.38, 0.90–1.87).
These improvements corresponded to subsequent changes in deficit accumulation over time. Those who showed little or no change in MEDAS scores, for instance, accumulated significantly less deficits from wave 0 to wave 2 relative to those with >1-point score decreases (β, –1.13, –2.20 to –0.07). This was also true for those who had >1-point increases (β, –1.49, –2.88 to –0.10; p-trend=0.04).
A one-standard deviation (SD) increase in MDS scores from wave 0 to wave 1 likewise led to significantly lower deficit accumulation from wave 0 to wave 2 (β, –0.72, –1.20 to –0.25) compared to those whose scores dropped by >1 SD.
A similar change in AHEI-2010 scores from wave 0 to wave 1 also corresponded to a significant decrease in deficit accumulation over the same time span (β, –0.57, –0.83 to –0.21) and the entire follow-up period (β, –0.67, –1.13 to –0.21).