Dietary patterns and all-cause mortality

Healthy diet associated with low all-cause mortality

A Healthy Diet Indicator (HDI) score was calculated based on the 1990 Guidelines of WHO on the prevention of chronic diseases for men aged 50-70 from Finland, The Netherlands, and Italy. The 20-year all-cause mortality was 13% lower in the group with the highest compared to the lowest HDI.

Mediterranean diet related to low all-cause mortality

In the HALE project, the Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) was associated with an 18% lower and the Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI) with a 17% lower 10-year all-cause mortality. The MDS and the MAI were both based on foods characteristic of the traditional Mediterranean diet in the 1960s. Within these dietary patterns, grains, fruit, and fish were most strongly and inversely related to all-cause mortality.


All three scores indicated that a healthy dietary pattern is associated with lower all-cause mortality.

About the HALE project

The HALE (Healthy Ageing: a Longitudinal study in Europe) project started in 2001 as an extension of three longitudinal studies: the 35-year follow-up data of the Seven Countries Study, the Finland, Italy, Netherlands Elderly (FINE) study and the Survey in Europe on Nutrition in the Elderly: a Concerted Action (SENECA) project. Read more about the HALE project.

More about dietary patterns

Dietary patterns and all-cause mortality

Diets contain nutrients, and these are generally highly correlated with other factors due to the choice of foods in which they occur, but also on the consumption of a particular food at the expense of another one. These factors are taken into account when indicators of dietary patterns are evaluated.

Mediterranean dietary patterns in the 1960s

The traditional Mediterranean diet was a nutritionally adequate diet with a varying total fat content, low in saturated fat and very low in trans fat, rich in fiber and antioxidant vitamins or flavonoids.