Quantifying the benefits of Mediterranean diet in terms of survival

Andrea Bellavia, Thanasis G. Tektonidis, Nicola Orsini, Alicja Wolk, Susanna C. Larsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Beneficial effects of Mediterranean diet (MD) have been consistently documented. However, to fully understand the public health implications of MD adherence, an informative step is to quantify these effects in terms of survival time differences. The aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of MD on survival, presenting results in terms of differences in median age at death. We used data from 71,333 participants from a large population-based cohort of Swedish men and women, followed-up between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2012. A total score of MD, ranging from 0 to 8, was calculated by including information on vegetables and fruits consumption, legumes and nuts, non-refined/high fiber grains, fermented dairy products, fish, red meat, use of olive oil/rapeseed oil, and moderate alcohol intake. Multivariable-adjusted differences in median age at death were estimated with Laplace regression and presented as a function of the MD score. During 15 years of follow-up we documented 14,697 deaths. We observed a linear dose–response association between the MD score and median age at death, with higher score associated with longer survival. The difference in median age at death between participants with the extreme scores (0 vs 8) of MD was up to 2 years (23 months, 95 % CI: 16–29). In this study we documented that adherence to MD may accrue benefits up to 2 years of longer survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)527-530
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Feb 2016


  • Mediterranean diet
  • Mortality
  • Percentile
  • Survival


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