Socio-economic status, place of residence and dietary habits among the elderly: the Mediterranean islands study

Public Health Nutr. 2010 Oct;13(10):1614-21. doi: 10.1017/S1368980010000479. Epub 2010 Mar 31.


Objective: To investigate whether the socio-economic status (SES) of elderly eastern Mediterranean islanders is associated with their dietary habits, particularly with adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Setting: Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was measured by the MedDietScore (range: 0-55), whereas SES was estimated using education and financial status.

Subjects: During 2005-2007, 300 men and women from Cyprus, 100 from Samothraki, 142 from Mitilini, 114 from Kefalonia, 131 from Crete, 150 from Lemnos, 150 from Corfu and 103 from Zakynthos (aged 65-100 years), free of known chronic diseases, participated in the survey.

Results: Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that belonging to the highest SES was associated with a higher MedDietScore (P < 0.01), after adjusting for potential sociodemographic, lifestyle, dietary and clinical confounders. A significant positive association was also found between MedDietScore and years of school (P = 0.004), as well as financial status (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Older Greek people of higher SES seem to follow a relatively healthier diet. Both education and income seem to play a role in this issue. Thus, public health policy makers should focus on people with low SES in order to improve their quality of diet and, consequently, their health status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Educational Status
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Islands
  • Poverty
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Class*