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Healthy Diet Associated with Better Quality of Life in Older Adults

As we age and increase our risk for a variety of ailments and diseases, quality of life becomes very important to our overall well-being. Healthy diets have been shown to decrease the risk

Photo by Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture (https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/13473984523)
Photo by Flickr user U.S. Department of Agriculture (https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/13473984523)

and/or severity of many of these diseases, which begs the question “does a healthy diet result in an overall increase in quality of life as we age?”

A new study accepted into the journal Experimental Gerontology asked this very question and examined associations between diet and reported quality of life in older adults.

2457 (53% women) Australian adults between the ages of 55 and 65 participated in this study. Diet and quality of life were determined via a self-reported mail-in questionnaire.

Diet quality was scored based on the Dietary Guideline Index (DGI), recommended food score (RFS), and the Mediterranean diet score (MDS).

Quality of life was scored based on the RAND-36 test.

Important Findings:

  • For men, higher DGI and RFS scores were associated with higher energy.
  • For men, higher DGI scores were associated with better overall health, both physical and mental.
  • Photo by Flickr user  moodboard (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67835627@N05/7267002470/)
    Photo by Flickr user moodboard (https://www.flickr.com/photos/67835627@N05/7267002470/)

    For women, higher DGI and RFS scores were associated with better physical function, and better overall health.

  • For women, higher DGI, RFS, and MDS scores were associated with better emotional well-being and better energy.

The results of this study suggest that diet quality is positively associated with a better quality of life in older adults. Specifically, a better diet (and one that focuses on Mediterranean-style diet patterns) resulted in happier, more physically fit, and self-reported overall better health in older Australian adults.

Source:

Milte, C.M., Thorpe, M.G., Crawford, D., Ball, K., and McNaughton, S.A. 2015. Associations of diet quality with health-related quality of life in older Australian men and women. Experimental Gerontology http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.exger.2015.01.047