Mediterranean Diet and Cognitive Status in Free-Living Elderly: A Cross-Sectional Study in Northern Italy

Ramona De Amicis, Alessandro Leone, Andrea Foppiani, Diana Osio, Lidia Lewandowski, Valentina Giustizieri, Paolo Cornelio, Ferdinando Cornelio, Susanna Fusari Imperatori, Stefano F. Cappa, Alberto Battezzati, Simona Bertoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Few data are available on the Italian elderly population with regard to adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) and cognitive impairment. Our aim was to investigate adherence to the MD and its association with cognitive function in an Italian urban sample. Methods: A cross-sectional study of 279 participants aged ≥ 65 years (80 men, 199 women) was carried out at a nutritional center. Adherence to the MD was evaluated using a 14-item questionnaire. Cognitive function was assessed with the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE). Results: The clinical and nutritional assessments performed revealed 30.1% to have a dietary pattern in accordance with the MD; 13.6% had suspected or mild cognitive impairment (MMSE score ≤ 23). The MD pattern was associated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment (odds ratio [OR] = 0.39; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.15–0.99; p = 0.045), as was the consumption of wine (OR = 0.37; 95% CI, 0.16–0.84; p = 0.018) and nuts (OR = 0.30; 95% CI, 0.13–0.69, p = 0.005). No association was found with other food groups. Conclusion: A closer adherence to the MD was associated with a better cognitive status. Further cohort studies and randomized controlled trials are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-500
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the American College of Nutrition
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Aug 18 2018


  • cognitive impairment
  • elderly
  • Mediterranean diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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