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
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.
- 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.
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.
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