Socio-economic status, place of residence and dietary habits among the elderly: The Mediterranean islands study

Alexia Katsarou, Stefanos Tyrovolas, Theodora Psaltopoulou, Akis Zeimbekis, Nikos Tsakountakis, Vassiliki Bountziouka, Efthimios Gotsis, George Metallinos, Evangelos Polychronopoulos, Christos Lionis, Demosthenes Panagiotakos

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Objective To investigate whether the socio-economic status (SES) of elderly eastern Mediterranean islanders is associated with their dietary habits, particularly with adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet.Design Cross-sectional.Setting Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was measured by the MedDietScore (range: 0-55), whereas SES was estimated using education and financial status.Subjects During 2005-2007, 300 men and women from Cyprus, 100 from Samothraki, 142 from Mitilini, 114 from Kefalonia, 131 from Crete, 150 from Lemnos, 150 from Corfu and 103 from Zakynthos (aged 65-100 years), free of known chronic diseases, participated in the survey.Results Multiple linear regression analysis revealed that belonging to the highest SES was associated with a higher MedDietScore (P < 001), after adjusting for potential sociodemographic, lifestyle, dietary and clinical confounders. A significant positive association was also found between MedDietScore and years of school (P = 0004), as well as financial status (P = 0001).Conclusions Older Greek people of higher SES seem to follow a relatively healthier diet. Both education and income seem to play a role in this issue. Thus, public health policy makers should focus on people with low SES in order to improve their quality of diet and, consequently, their health status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1614-1621
Number of pages8
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Education
  • Elderly
  • Financial status
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Socio-economic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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