Background/Aims: We aim to present the results of the dietary changes achieved during the MedLey trial (Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) for cardiovascular and cognitive health in the elderly).
Methods: Volunteers (n=166, age: 65 - 86y, 85 females) were randomly assigned to follow either their habitual diet (HabDiet) or the MedDiet for 6 months. Food and nutrient intakes were measured by 3-day weighed food records (WFR) completed at baseline, 2 months and 4 months. Baseline and changes in dietary intake and two MedDiet adherence scores were calculated for all volunteers. Differences between groups were assessed using a linear mixed effects model, and Pearson’s correlations were used to compare MedDiet adherence scores.
Results: One hundred and thirty-seven volunteers completed the trial (70 MedDiet, 67 HabDiet). Participants following the MedDiet had lower cholesterol and % energy from saturated fat (P<0.0001) and consumed more fibre, iron, vitamin C and total, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and long chain omega-3 fatty acids(P<0.025) compared to the HabDiet group after 4 months. Based on a maximum 15 point MedDiet adherence score, mean score amongst the MedDiet group increased from 7.2±2.0 to 8.9±2.2 (P=.000), compared to 7.3±2.1 to 6.4±1.9 in the HabDiet group (P=0.001). Scoring adherence against the food intakes of the Greek cohorts from the Seven Countries Study yielded similar results (Pearson’s correlation coefficient 0.581, P=.001).
Conclusions: Older Australians were successful at adhering to a MedDiet over 4 months. This may have positive health implications if maintained in the long term, however this needs further investigation.
Funding source(s): NHMRC