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.
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.