Association of diet quality and physical activity with healthy ageing in the French NutriNet-Santé cohort

Br J Nutr. 2019 Jul 14;122(1):93-102. doi: 10.1017/S0007114519000898. Epub 2019 Jun 4.


A growing number of studies have explored overall health during ageing in a holistic manner by investigating multidimensional models of healthy ageing (HA). However, little attention has been given to the role of adherence to national nutrition guidelines in that context. This study aimed to investigate the prospective association between adherence to the French nutrition guidelines and HA. The authors analysed data from 21 407 participants of the NutriNet-Santé study with a median baseline age of 55·6 years (2009-2014) and initially free of major chronic diseases. HA was defined as not developing major chronic disease, no depressive symptoms, no function-limiting pain, independence in instrumental activities of daily living, good physical, cognitive and social functioning, as well as good self-perceived health. Adherence to guidelines of the French Nutrition and Health Programme (Programme National Nutrition Santé or PNNS) was measured via the PNNS Guideline Score (PNNS-GS), using baseline data from repeated 24-h dietary records and physical activity questionnaires. After a median follow-up of 5·7 years, 46·3 % of participants met our HA criteria. Robust-error-variance Poisson regression revealed that higher PNNS-GS scores, reflecting higher adherence to nutrition recommendations (including both diet and physical activity guidelines), were associated with a higher probability to age healthily (relative riskquartile 4 v. quartile 1 = 1·17 (95 % CI 1·12, 1·22)). Supplementary analyses revealed that this association may, to a small part, be mediated by weight status. The results suggest that high adherence to the French national nutrition recommendations may be linked to better overall health throughout ageing.

Keywords: Diet; Epidemiology; Healthy ageing; Multidimensional concepts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diet / standards*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • France
  • Healthy Aging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Status