Prior research indicates that adherence to a Mediterranean (Med) diet pattern, and decreased intake of red/processed meats, refined grains, starches, and added sugars, is associated with reduced cardiometabolic risk independent of total calorie intake or single nutrients. Researchers who sought to explore whether adherence to a Med diet was associated with risk factor change in the context of a behavioral weight management trial for US community-dwelling older adults who were at elevated diabetes and cardiovascular risk examined the impact of 12 weekly group lifestyle sessions on weight and cardiometabolic risk (BMI, waist circumference, glucose, lipids, and blood pressure) in adults aged 65-80. They observed that median interquartile range score improved at 4 months, with 27% low, 63% moderate, and 10% high. Each one-unit Med diet increase was associated with 0.1 kg/m2 decrease in BMI and a decrease of 1.0 mmHg for systolic blood pressure at 4 months. Women were more adherent than men, the researchers found, and adjusting for sex, higher scores were correlated with older age, lower baseline BMI, and smaller waist. Improvements due Med diet adherence were maintained at 12 and 24 months.
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