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Open AccessArticle

NHANES 2011–2014 Reveals Cognition of US Older Adults may Benefit from Better Adaptation to the Mediterranean Diet

1
Medical Center Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
2
Alzheimer’s Disease Center, University of Kansas, Fairway, KS 66205, USA
3
Medical Center Department of Biostatistics and Data Science, University of Kansas, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2020, 12(7), 1929; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12071929
Received: 2 June 2020 / Revised: 18 June 2020 / Accepted: 19 June 2020 / Published: 29 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diet Quality and Human Health)
Although the Mediterranean diet (MedD) has gained interest for potential Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prevention, it is unknown how well US older adults follow a MedD. We used two National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles (2011–2014) to conduct our primary aim of reporting population estimates of MedD adherence among older adults (60+ years) in the US (n = 3068). The mean MedD adherence score for US older adults was 5.3 ± 2.1 (maximum possible = 18), indicating that older adults in the US do not adhere to a MedD. There were various differences in MedD scores across demographic characteristics. We also assessed the cross-sectional relationship between MedD adherence and cognitive performance using survey-weighted ordinary least squares regression and binary logistic regression models adjusted for 11 covariates. Compared to the lowest MedD adherence tertile, the highest tertile had a lower odds ratio of low cognitive performance on three of five cognitive measures (p < 0.05 for each). Sensitivity analyses within participants without subjective memory complaints over the past year revealed similar results on the same three cognitive measures. We conclude that MedD interventions are a departure from usual dietary intake of older adults in the US and are a reasonable approach for AD prevention trials. View Full-Text
Keywords: older adults; Alzheimer’s disease; Mediterranean diet; cognition; NHANES older adults; Alzheimer’s disease; Mediterranean diet; cognition; NHANES
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Taylor, M.K.; Mahnken, J.D.; Sullivan, D.K. NHANES 2011–2014 Reveals Cognition of US Older Adults may Benefit from Better Adaptation to the Mediterranean Diet. Nutrients 2020, 12, 1929.

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