Eating Healthier Means Living Longer

According to New Study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association

St. Louis, MO, December 22, 2010 – The leading causes of death have shifted from infectious diseases to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These illnesses may be affected by diet. In a study published in the January 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, researchers investigated empirical data regarding the associations of dietary patterns with mortality through analysis of the eating patterns of over 2500 adults between the ages of 70 and 79 over a ten-year period. They found that diets favoring certain foods were associated with reduced mortality.

By 2030, an estimated 973 million adults will be aged 65 or older worldwide. The objective of this study was to determine the dietary patterns of a large and diverse group 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.

By determining the consumption frequency of 108 different food items, researchers were able to group the participants into six different clusters according to predominant food choices:

"Healthy foods" (374 participants)
"High-fat dairy products" (332)
"Meat, fried foods, and alcohol" (693)
"Breakfast cereal" (386)
"Refined grains" (458)
"Sweets and desserts" (339).

The "Healthy foods" cluster was characterized by relatively higher intake of low-fat dairy products, fruit, whole grains, poultry, fish, and vegetables, and lower consumption of meat, fried foods, sweets, high-calorie drinks, and added fat. The "High fat dairy products" cluster had higher intake of foods such as ice cream, cheese, and 2% and whole milk and yogurt, and lower intake of poultry, low-fat dairy products, rice, and pasta.

The study was unique in that it evaluated participants’ quality of life and nutritional status, through detailed biochemical measures, according to their dietary patterns. After controlling for gender, age, race, clinical site, education, physical activity, smoking, and total calorie intake, the "High-fat dairy products" cluster had a 40% higher risk of mortality than the "Healthy foods" cluster. The "Sweets and desserts" cluster had a 37% higher risk. No significant differences in risk of mortality were seen between the "Healthy foods" cluster and the "Breakfast cereal" or "Refined grains" clusters.

According to lead author Amy L. Anderson, Ph.D., Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, the "results of this study suggest that older adults who follow a dietary pattern consistent with current guidelines to consume relatively high amounts of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry and fish, may have a lower risk of mortality. Because a substantial percentage of older adults in this study followed the ‘Healthy foods’ dietary pattern, adherence to such a diet appears a feasible and realistic recommendation for potentially improved survival and quality of life in the growing older adult population."

The article is “Dietary patterns and survival of older adults” by Amy L Anderson, Ph.D.; Tamara B Harris, M.D., M.S.; Frances A Tylavsky, Dr.P.H.; Sara E Perry, M.A., M.P.H.; Denise K Houston, Ph.D., R.D.; Trisha F Hue, M.P.H.; Elsa S Strotmeyer, Ph.D., M.P.H.; and Nadine R Sahyoun, Ph.D., R.D. It appears in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 111, Issue 1 (January 2011) published by Elsevier.

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Notes for Editors
Full text of this article is available to journalists upon request. Contact Nancy Burns at 314-447-8013 or adajmedia@elsevier.com to obtain copies. To schedule an interview with Dr. Amy L. Anderson may contact her directly at 301-314-2504 or aanders3@umd.edu.

About The Authors
AMY L. ANDERSON, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

TAMARA B. HARRIS, MD, MS
Chief, Geriatric Epidemiology Section, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, MD

FRANCES A. TYLAVSKY, DrPH
Professor, Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN

SARA E. PERRY, MA, MPH
PhD Research Assistant, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

DENISE K. HOUSTON, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor, Sticht Center on Aging, Department of Internal Medicine, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC

TRISHA F. HUE, MPH
Epidemiologist, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of California, San Francisco, CA

ELSA S. STROTMEYER, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Center for Aging and Population Health, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA

NADINE R. SAHYOUN, PhD, RD
Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

About The Journal Of The American Dietetic Association
The official journal of the American Dietetic Association ( www.eatright.org) the Journal of the American Dietetic Association ( www.adajournal.org) is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. The Journal focuses on advancing professional knowledge across the range of research and practice issues such as: nutritional science, medical nutrition therapy, public health nutrition, food science and biotechnology, food service systems, leadership and management and dietetics education.

The Journal has been ranked 16th of 66 journals in Impact Factor in the Nutrition and Dietetics category of the Journal Citation Reports® 2010, published by
Thomson Reuters, with an Impact Factor of 3.128.

About The American Dietetic Association
The American Dietetic Association ( www.eatright.org) is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence,and ClinicalKey—and publishes over 2,200 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and over 25,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works.

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Media Contacts
Nancy Burns
Elsevier
314-447-8013
adajmedia@elsevier.com

Ryan O’Malley
American Dietetic Association
800-877-1600, ext. 4769
media@eatright.org