Most causes of death and disability among the elderly have strong nutritional components. Relevant studies were either small, or referring to single populations, hence raising concerns about the generalisability of the reported effects of diet on the survival of the elderly. In EU in particular, dietary data on the elderly are extremely sparse and aggregated whereas on the other hand, the proportion of EU elderly is expected to increase dramatically.
This talk presents EPIC-Elderly, a prospective multi-centre study comprising of elderly Europeans, living in 9 different European countries, who participated in the EPIC study. EPIC-Elderly aims at studying the possible role of diet on the health and longevity of the elderly and at examining the socio-economic and demographic parameters that may affect dietary practices and through them the health status of the elderly.
Along these lines, data on various sociodemographic, anthropometric, dietary and lifestyle variables, as well as mortality data have been collected in a central database in Athens for about 100,000 European elders. Relevant methodology has been appointed and applied to the Greek EPIC cohort regarding the identification of dietary patterns accross Europeans over 60 years old and the association of the former with overall mortality. Analysis of pan-European data is now at the final stage, thus results on prevailing dietary habits of the elderly in Europe, as well as, on an optimal nutrition score which can serve as a simplified descriptor of the quality of diet of the elderly are to appear soon.
National Kapodestrian University of Athens, Greece