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Eating a Healthy Diet Key to Longevity

Thursday, 23 Dec 2010 08:07 AM

If you're an older person, now is not the time to start eating a poor diet. It turns out that a healthy diet can help us live longer, even as we age.

That was a finding in a study that looked at the role diet played in longevity among about 2,500 adults, ages 70 to 79, from Pittsburgh and Memphis, Tenn. Participants who ate a mainly healthy diet containing whole grains, fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy had a lower risk of dying over a 10-year period than those who ate a less healthy diet that included fattier foods, such as high-fat dairy.

"Some people have suggested in the past that it doesn't maybe matter too much what people eat at an older age," said study researcher Amy Anderson, of the department of Nutrition and Food Science at the University of Maryland. "But our study, and previous studies, support the idea that older adults can affect their health and longevity by following a dietary pattern that is high in healthy foods."

Researchers grouped the participants based on their diets, including those who ate mostly healthy food, mostly high-fat dairy foods, mostly sweets and desserts, and other categories.

During the 10 years researchers followed the group, 739 participants died. Those in the high-fat dairy product group were 40 percent more likely to die than those in the healthy food group. Those in the sweets and desserts group had a 37 percent higher risk of dying than those in the healthy food group.

Those in the healthy food group also reported more years of healthy life, rating their health as excellent, very good, or good.

To read the full My Health News Daily story — Go Here Now.

© HealthDay

 
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