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.