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Review
. 2008 Sep 11;337:a1344.
doi: 10.1136/bmj.a1344.

Adherence to Mediterranean Diet and Health Status: Meta-Analysis

Affiliations
Free PMC article
Review

Adherence to Mediterranean Diet and Health Status: Meta-Analysis

Francesco Sofi et al. BMJ. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: To systematically review all the prospective cohort studies that have analysed the relation between adherence to a Mediterranean diet, mortality, and incidence of chronic diseases in a primary prevention setting.

Design: Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies.

Data sources: English and non-English publications in PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from 1966 to 30 June 2008. Studies reviewed Studies that analysed prospectively the association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet, mortality, and incidence of diseases; 12 studies, with a total of 1 574,299 subjects followed for a time ranging from three to 18 years were included.

Results: The cumulative analysis among eight cohorts (514,816 subjects and 33,576 deaths) evaluating overall mortality in relation to adherence to a Mediterranean diet showed that a two point increase in the adherence score was significantly associated with a reduced risk of mortality (pooled relative risk 0.91, 95% confidence interval 0.89 to 0.94). Likewise, the analyses showed a beneficial role for greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet on cardiovascular mortality (pooled relative risk 0.91, 0.87 to 0.95), incidence of or mortality from cancer (0.94, 0.92 to 0.96), and incidence of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (0.87, 0.80 to 0.96).

Conclusions: Greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet is associated with a significant improvement in health status, as seen by a significant reduction in overall mortality (9%), mortality from cardiovascular diseases (9%), incidence of or mortality from cancer (6%), and incidence of Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease (13%). These results seem to be clinically relevant for public health, in particular for encouraging a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern for primary prevention of major chronic diseases.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

Figures

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Fig 1 Process of study selection
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Fig 2 Risk of all cause mortality associated with two point increase in adherence score for Mediterranean diet. Squares represent effect size; extended lines show 95% confidence intervals; diamond represents total effect size
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Fig 3 Risk of mortality from cardiovascular diseases associated with two point increase in adherence score for Mediterranean diet. Squares represent effect size; extended lines show 95% confidence intervals; diamond represents total effect size
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Fig 4 Risk of occurrence of or mortality from cancer associated with two point increase in adherence score for Mediterranean diet. Squares represent effect size; extended lines show 95% confidence intervals; diamond represents total effect size
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Fig 5 Risk of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease associated with two point increase in adherence score for Mediterranean diet. Squares represent effect size; extended lines show 95% confidence intervals; diamond represents total effect size

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