UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Dietary patterns in the healthy oldest old in the healthy aging study and the Canadian longitudinal study of aging: a cohort study Gu, Qianqian; Sable, Carly M.; Brooks-Wilson, Angela; Murphy, Rachel Anne


Background: Very few people live to eighty-five years and older (the ‘oldest old’), and even fewer live to this age without developing chronic diseases. It is important to understand the relationship, if any, of modifiable factors such as diet on healthy aging. However, there are few studies of diet among healthy oldest old, especially in North American populations. We aimed to characterize dietary patterns among ‘super-seniors’ (SS) within the Canadian Healthy Aging Study. Methods: 122 SS aged 85 years or older and free of cancer, cardiovascular or pulmonary disease, dementia and diabetes were recruited. Comparisons were made to 12,626 participants aged 65–86 in the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging who completed the same 36-item food frequency questionnaire that queried consumption over the prior 12 months of nutrients and foods thought to be important for aging. Dietary patterns were identified with principal component analysis. The odds of being a SS were determined for quartiles of each dietary pattern with logistic regression. Results: Two dietary patterns were identified; a western diet characterized by french fries, red meat, processed meat and a nutrient-rich diet which included fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds among other healthy food choices. Higher scores for both dietary patterns were associated with increased odds of being a SS, however, only the western dietary pattern remained associated with adjustment for covariates (Quartile 4: OR = 3.21, 95% CI 1.91–5.51). Conclusions: Our finding adds to the limited evidence on dietary intake among the healthiest oldest old but it is unclear whether assocations reflect generational differences between groups or possible contributions to longevity.

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