To examine the longitudinal associations between aging with preserved functionality, i.e. independent aging and survival, and lifestyle variables, dietary pattern and cardiovascular risk factors.
Uppsala Longitudinal Study of Adult Men, Sweden.
Swedish men (n = 1,104) at a mean age of 71 (range 69.4-74.1) were investigated, 369 of whom were evaluated for independent aging 16 years later, at a mean age of 87 (range 84.8-88.9).
A questionnaire was used to obtain information on lifestyle, including education, living conditions, and physical activity. Adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet was assessed according to a modified Mediterranean Diet Score derived from 7-day food records. Cardiovascular risk factors were measured. Independent aging at a mean age of 87 was defined as lack of diagnosed dementia, a Mini-Mental State Examination score of 25 or greater, not institutionalized, independence in personal activities of daily living, and ability to walk outdoors alone. Complete survival data at age 85 were obtained from the Swedish Cause of Death Register.
Fifty-seven percent of the men survived to age 85, and 75% of the participants at a mean age of 87 displayed independent aging. Independent aging was associated with never smoking (vs current) (odds ratio (OR) = 2.20, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.05-4.60) and high (vs low) adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet (OR = 2.69, 95% CI = 1.14-6.80). Normal weight or overweight and waist circumference of 102 cm or less were also associated with independent aging. Similar associations were observed with survival.
Lifestyle factors such as never smoking, maintaining a healthy diet, and not being obese at age 71 were associated with survival and independent aging at age 85 and older in men.