The role of diet on the longevity of elderly Europeans: EPIC-Elderly

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1 The role of diet on the longevity of elderly Europeans: EPIC-Elderly A study in the context of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) An EU funded Research Project. Project No: QRLT Acronym: EPIC-Elderly

2 EPIC ELDERLY project 22 centres in 9 European Countries Sample: About. elderly Europeans ( > 6 years at enrolment) Coordinator: Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology, University of Athens, Medical School

3 EPIC participating countries

4 What were the Key Objectives of the EPIC-Elderly project? To identify the prevailing dietary patterns among the EPIC- Elderly participants To examine the socio-economic and demographic factors that may affect dietary practices throughout Europe To identify a dietary pattern that is beneficial to the longevity of elderly Europeans To develop an optimal nutrition pattern for the elderly, which will enable them to evaluate their current diet in relation to the diet identified as being beneficial to living a longer and healthier life

5 What has the EPIC-Elderly project achieved? Identification of the current dietary patterns among elderly Europeans Identification of a Mediterranean like-diet, as being particularly beneficial to the longevity of elderly Europeans The raising of awareness of the effects of diet on living a longer and healthier life

6 What do EPIC-Elderly participants eat? Denmark Overall EPIC-Elderly average intake of indicated foods (%) Deviation (%) of specific food group averages from the EPIC-Elderly average intakes France (Females Only) Greece The samples for each country are not necessarily representative of the population

7 What do EPIC-Elderly participants eat? Italy Overall EPIC-Elderly average intake of indicated foods (%) Deviation (%) of specific food group averages from the EPIC-Elderly average intakes United Kingdom Germany The samples for each country are not necessarily representative of the population

8 What do EPIC-Elderly participants eat? Overall EPIC-Elderly average intake of indicated foods (%) Deviation (%) of specific food group averages from the EPIC-Elderly average intakes Sweden The Netherlands Spain The samples for each country are not necessarily representative of the population

9 Are there any prevailing dietary patterns to be found among EPIC-Elderly participants? Within EPIC-Elderly there are 2 major dietary patterns: Diet Rich in Plant Foods Sweet & Fat Dominated Diet High consumption of vegetables, fruits and vegetable oils High consumption of pasta, rice, other grains and legumes Low consumption of margarine, nonalcoholic beverages and potatoes High consumption of added lipids (butter and margarine) High consumption of cereals such as flour, pastry, breakfast cereals, sugar and cakes Low consumption of bread, meat, eggs and alcoholic beverages This diet is more common among EPIC- Elderly participants who live in Southern Europe This diet is more common among EPIC- Elderly participants who live in Northern Europe Factors that influence preference of either dietary pattern include gender, educational level, physical activity, and smoking. Dietary patterns among older Europeans. The EPIC-Elderly study. BJN. In press

10 How should the elderly eat to live longer? Frequently: Cereals Olive Oil and other Vegetable Oils (such as, corn, sunflower, soy, and rapeseed oils) In Moderation: Dairy Products Occasionally: Saturated Fats (animal based fats) Modified-Mediterranean diet and survival: The EPIC- Elderly prospective cohort study. BMJ. In press

11 Which factors apart from diet were identified as playing a role in longevity? Smoking is well known to be the leading avoidable cause of death and chronic diseases in Europe. The detrimental effect of smoking was evident by the EPIC-Elderly study Other factors that were identified in the EPIC-Elderly project as having an impact on longevity: Physical Activity, both during work and during leisure, such as walking, gardening, swimming, and dancing contributes positively to longevity Maintaining a Healthy Body Weight * plays an important role in living a longer life Higher Education Levels, as assessed by years of schooling, are associated with a longer life expectancy Gender is associated with longevity with females living longer than males * A Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated by dividing a person s body weight in Kilograms by their body height in metres2, is considered to indicate a healthy body weight if it s value is between 19 and 25

12 Contact Details Project Website Project Co-ordinator National and Kapodistrian University of Athens Department of Hygiene and Epidemiology School of Medicine Dr. Antonia Trichopoulou 75 Mikras Asias Street, Athens, Greece Tel: Fax: Related Links International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) World Health Organisation European Commission This project has been carried out with the financial support of the European Communities, under the 5 th Framework Programme for Research, Technology & Demonstration, specific RTD programme Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources, Key Action 6 The ageing population and their disabilities. It does not necessarily reflect the Commission s views and in no way anticipates its future policy in this area. QRLT-1-241

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