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Hormones (Athens). 2013 Jul-Sep;12(3):379-85.

A 50-year follow-up of the Seven Countries Study: Prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, food and nutrient intakes among Cretans.

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  • 1Department of Social Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Clinic, Medical School, University of Crete, Greece.



To identify the cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk-factor status and dietary habits of the surviving elderly participants of the initial Seven Countries Study (SCS) cohort and newly recruited middle-aged men from the same villages.


Our total cohort of remaining survivors of the SCS consisted of 27 men aged 90 years old and over, while a younger cross-sectional study of 85 men between 53 and 73 years of age of the same catchment area were also examined. Biochemical, anthropometric, dietetic and lifestyle CVD risk factors information was obtained.


It was found that being overweight and having systolic blood pressure higher than the recommended were highly prevalent (>75%) among both age groups as well as abdominal obesity (about 50%). Hypercholesterolemia was highly prevalent in the younger population (68.8%), while smoking rates were relatively low among elderly. The daily meat consumption of SCS participants had doubled, from 35g in the 1960s to 76g among the SCS survivors in 2010 (p=0.002), while daily fruit and vegetable consumption had dropped from 656g to 266g (p<0.001). The younger participants also had increased dietary meat (130g/day) (p<0.001) and decreased fruits-vegetables intake (412g/day) (p<0.001) compared to 50 years ago. However, the younger population and elderly subjects showed higher fish intake (91g/day and 38g/day respectively, p<0.001) compared to 1960 and favorable olive oil consumption. In regard to nutrient intake, the majority of the subjects did not meet the recommendations for CVD prevention.


The study population is at increased risk for the development of CVD, while current dietary habits of the SCS survivors partially differed from those of 50 years ago.

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