The Effect of Exclusive Olive Oil Consumption on Successful Aging: A Combined Analysis of the ATTICA and MEDIS Epidemiological Studies

Foods. 2019 Jan 12;8(1):25. doi: 10.3390/foods8010025.


The consumption of dietary fats, which occur naturally in various foods, poses important impacts on health. The aim of this study was to elucidate the association of exclusive use of olive oil for culinary purposes with successful aging in adults aged >50 years old and residing in Greece. Use of olive oil in food preparation and bio-clinical characteristics of the Greek participants enrolled in the ATTICA (n = 1128 adults from Athens metropolitan area) and the MEDiterranean Islands Study (MEDIS) (n = 2221 adults from various Greek islands and Mani) studies, were investigated in relation to successful aging (SA). Participants were divided into the following three categories: (a) no olive oil consumption; (b) combined consumption of olive oil and other dietary fats; and (c) exclusive olive oil consumption. The SA was measured using the previously validated successful aging index (SAI). After adjusting for age, sex, and smoking habits, combined consumption of olive oil and other fats (vs. no olive oil use) was not significantly associated with SAI levels (p = 0.114). However, exclusive olive oil intake (vs. no use of olive oil) was significantly associated with SAI (p = 0.001), particularly among those aged older than 70 years. Therefore, the exclusive consumption of olive oil, as opposed to either combined or no olive oil consumption, beneficially impacts successful aging, particularly among individuals over 70 years of age. Primary public health prevention strategies should seek to encourage the enhanced adoption of such dietary practices in order to promote healthy aging and longevity.

Keywords: dietary fats; olive oil; successful aging.