Send to

Choose Destination
Cardiovasc Diagn Ther. 2017 Apr;7(Suppl 1):S39-S47. doi: 10.21037/cdt.2017.03.11.

Mediterranean lifestyle and cardiovascular disease prevention.

Author information

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Health Science and Education, Harokopio University, Athens, Greece.
Department of Nutrition-Dietetics, University of Canberra, Faculty of Health, Canberra, Australia.
Parc Sanitari Sant Joan de Déu, Fundació Sant Joan de Déu, CIBERSAM, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.
Department of Health, University of Malta, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Studies Office, Msida, Republic of Malta.
Department of Life Sciences and Biotechnology, University of Ferrara, Ferrara, Italy.
Animal Science Department, Plants for Human Health Institute, North Carolina State University, Kannapolis, NC, USA.
Clinic of Social and Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece.
Health Center of Kalloni, General Hospital of Mitilini, Mitilini, Greece.
Research Group on Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress, Universitat de les Illes Balears & CIBERobn, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Department of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA.



Adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern is a well-established protective factor against cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, diet quality is only one aspect of the overall healthy lifestyle adopted by Mediterranean populations. The latter has never been evaluated as a multi-factorial composite lifestyle. Thus, the aim of the present study was to provide a broader picture of the Mediterranean lifestyle and its effects on CVD risk, among elderly individuals.


During 2005-2015, 2,749 older (aged 65-100 years) from 21 Mediterranean islands (MEDIS) and the rural Mani region (Peloponnesus) of Greece were voluntarily enrolled onto the study. Dietary habits, physical activity status, socio-demographic characteristics, lifestyle parameters (sleep, smoking habits, social life and educational status) and clinical profile aspects were derived through standard procedures.


The overall prevalence of the traditional CVD risk factors were 62.3% for hypertension, 22.3% for diabetes mellitus (type 2) and 47.7% for hypercholesterolemia. The presence of diabetes mellitus was positively predicted by the geriatric depression scale (GDS) [odds ratio (OR) =1.13, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.02-1.25] and by an urban residential environment (OR =2.57, 95% CI: 1.10-6.06) after adjusting for several confounders. Presence of hypertension was predicted by increasing age (OR =1.07, 95% CI: 1.02-1.12), increasing body mass index (BMI) (OR =1.12, 95% CI: 1.04-1.21), the habit of midday sleep (OR =2.07, 95% CI: 1.07-4.02) and inversely predicted by the frequency of socializing with friends (OR =0.767, 95% CI: 0.616-0.955). The estimated score in the GDS was the only independent positive predictor for the presence of hypercholesterolemia (OR =1.10, 95% CI: 1.01-1.21).


Lifestyle parameters such as social life, midday sleep (siesta) and residential environment are strongly associated with the presence of CVD risk factors in elderly and should be part of broader CVD prevention strategies to reduce the burden of the disease.


Mediterranean lifestyle; cardiovascular disease (CVD); elderly; prevention

Conflict of interest statement

Conflicts of Interest: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for AME Publishing Company Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center