Older Australians can adhere to a traditional Mediterranean style diet over two weeks: A pilot dietary intervention study

Courtney Rose Davis, Janet Bryan, Jonathan Marcus Hodgson, Carlene Wilson, Karen Joy Murphy

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    15 Citations (Scopus)
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    Background: Consumption of a Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) is associated with several significant health benefits, however most evidence comes from Mediterranean countries, where the diet may be more culturally acceptable. Whether older Australians can adhere to a traditional MedDiet is unknown. We aimed to test the feasibility of elderly Australians adhering to a MedDiet over two weeks. Methods: Male (n = 4) and female (n = 6) omnivorous Australians aged ≥65 years living in metropolitan Adelaide were recruited and completed the study during June-July, 2013. Participants followed their habitual diet for one week (Habitual diet phase), then a MedDiet for two weeks (MedDiet phase). The intervention diet was rich in plant foods and extra virgin olive oil, moderate in dairy foods and seafood, and low in red meat and added sugars. Adherence to the MedDiet was measured through a semi-quantitative daily food checklist. Dietary intake was assessed by weighed food records (WFRs) and food frequency questionnaires (FFQ) during both phases to monitor dietary compliance and nutrient intake. A feasibility survey assessed barriers to following the diet. Height was measured at baseline; body mass at baseline, and at the end of each phase. Cohen's d effect sizes were calculated for differences between nutrient intakes during the Habitual diet and MedDiet phases. Means ± SD are presented for continuous variables. Results: Daily food checklists show adherence to the MedDiet was 87 %. Both WFRs and FFQs indicated that participants increased their intakes of total and monounsaturated fat, ratio of monounsaturated fat to saturated fat, fibre and vitamin C. Seven of 10 participants felt they could continue following the diet long term. Barriers to compliance included palatability of plain Greek yoghurt, limited red meat, limited variety within the diet and length of meal preparation. Conclusion: This population of older Australians were able to follow a MedDiet over two weeks and most believed they could follow it longer-term. Minor adjustments to recommendations for dairy foods, poultry, small goods and discretionary foods would improve adherence. After modifications, the MedDiet will then be used in a larger, randomised controlled intervention trial. Trial registration: Australia and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12613000636752

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number28
    Number of pages10
    JournalBMC Nutrition
    Issue number28
    Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2015

    Bibliographical note

    © 2015 Davis et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.


    • Adherence
    • Elderly Australians
    • Feasibility survey
    • Mediterranean diet
    • Semi-quantitative checklist


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