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J Nutr Gerontol Geriatr. 2013;32(2):85-105. doi: 10.1080/21551197.2013.779622.

Association between dietary quality and mortality in older adults: a review of the epidemiological evidence.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Science, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


The population is aging worldwide. Delayed mortality is associated with an increased burden of chronic health conditions, many of which have a dietary component. A literature search was conducted to retrieve and review relevant articles considering quality of diets in association with mortality in older adults aged 60 years and older. In the studies we reviewed, diet quality defined using either a priori methods, which characterize dietary patterns based on existing dietary guidelines, or a posteriori methods, which define dietary patterns through statistical methods met review criteria. Sixteen articles met criteria for review. Generally, dietary patterns that demonstrated greater adherence to diets that emphasized whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and legumes and nuts were inversely associated with mortality. However, a priori methods have not yet demonstrated associations between diet and mortality in older adults in the United States. Development of new methods based on regional variations in dietary intake may offer the best approach to assess associations with mortality.

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