Dietary Patterns and Their Association with Anxiety Symptoms among Older Adults: The ATTICA Study

Nutrients. 2019 May 31;11(6):1250. doi: 10.3390/nu11061250.


Abstract: By 2050, the global population aged 60 years and over is expected to reach nearly 2.1 billion and affective disorders might be also expected to increase. Although nutrition has been related with affective disorders, there is a lack of studies assessing the relation between dietary habits and anxiety among European and Mediterranean older populations. In the present study, we aimed to evaluate the association between dietary habits, energy intake, and anxiety symptoms using data from 1128 Greek older adults (>50 years) without pre-existing cardiovascular disease (CVD) or any other chronic disease who participated in the ATTICA study. Various socio demographic lifestyle, bio-clinical (e.g., blood pressure), and psychological (e.g., depression) characteristics were used, and dietary habits as well as energy intake were calculated using standard procedures. Older people with anxiety were more likely to be sedentary, to be smokers, and to show symptoms of depression. The saturated fat and added sugars (SFAS) dietary pattern was associated with higher anxiety levels (non-standardized b (95% CI): 5.82 (0.03 to 11.61)). No association between energy intake tertiles and anxiety levels pictured in the later regression model. Moreover, female gender, family status, and depression were positively related to anxiety. Therefore, promoting healthy dietary habits could reduce anxiety symptoms of the older adults.

Keywords: Attica study; Greece; anxiety; carbohydrate; energy intake; older adults; snack; sugars.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Diet / adverse effects*
  • Energy Intake
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutritional Status
  • Risk Factors