(HealthDay News) – Diet quality in midlife is associated with increased odds of healthy aging, according to a study published in the Nov. 5 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Cécilia Samieri, PhD, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and colleagues conducted a cross-sectional observational study to examine the correlation between dietary patterns in midlife and the prevalence of healthy aging. Participants included 10,670 women with dietary data and no major chronic disease, recruited when they were in their late 50s and early 60s between 1984 and 1986. Diet quality was ascertained using the Alternative Healthy Eating Index-2010 (AHEI-2010) and Alternate Mediterranean diet scores. Health information was provided an average of 15 years later, with “healthy” aging defined as survival to age >70 years with maintenance of four health domains (no major chronic diseases or major impairments in cognitive or physical function or mental health).

The researchers found that the odds of healthy vs. usual aging were 34% greater with increased adherence in midlife to the AHEI-2010 (upper vs. lower quintiles) in midlife, after multivariate adjustment. The odds of healthy aging were increased by 46% with greater adherence to Alternate Mediterranean diet. The AHEI-2010 and Alternate Mediterranean diet correlated significantly with increased an likelihood of no major limitations in physical and mental health in a separate analysis of the four components of healthy aging.

“Better diet quality at midlife seems to be strongly linked to greater health and well-being in persons surviving to older ages,” the authors write.

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