Posted on Aug 18, 2023, 2 p.m.
Those who adhere to living a Mediterranean lifestyle have been found to have lower risks of all-cause and cancer mortality according to a recent study led by La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings describes how those who adhered to this lifestyle’s emphasis on exercise, rest, socializing with friends/family, and a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting added salts and sugars also had a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.
"This study suggests that it's possible for non-Mediterranean populations to adopt the Mediterranean diet using locally available products and to adopt the overall Mediterranean lifestyle within their own cultural contexts," said lead author Mercedes Sotos Prieto, Ramon y Cajal research fellow at La Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and adjunct assistant professor of environmental health at Harvard Chan School. "We're seeing the transferability of the lifestyle and its positive effects on health."
The lifestyle habits of 110,799 people between the ages of 40-75 years old who were enrolled in the UK Biobank cohort were analyzed for this study. Participants provided information about their lifestyle according to 3 categories that the index measures: Mediterranean food consumption, Mediterranean dietary habits, physical activity, rest, social habits, and conviviality. Each item within the categories was scored, higher total scores indicated higher adherence to the Mediterranean lifestyle.
The participants were followed for up to 9 years to examine health outcomes, within this time 4,247 participants died from all causes, 2,401 died from cancer, and 731 died from cardiovascular diseases. These results were analyzed alongside MEDLIFE scores to reveal an inverse association between adherence to the Mediterranean lifestyle and the risk of mortality.
Those with higher MEDLIFE scores were found to have a 29% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 28% lower risk of cancer mortality compared to those with lower scores. Additionally, adherence to each MEDLIFE category independently was associated with lower all-cause and cancer mortality risks’ with the physical activity, rest, social habits, and conviviality category being the most strongly associated with the lowered risks as well as this category being associated with lower risks of cardiovascular disease mortality.
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