New research published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings has shown that people who follow a Mediterranean lifestyle, which includes following a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, regularly participating in physical activity, and emphasizing socializing with friends, had a lower risk of all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality.
The study included over 110,000 individuals in the UK Biobank who were 40–75 years old. Between 2009 and 2012, all participants were free of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Additionally, at baseline, each participant took an assessment called the Mediterranean Lifestyle index, or MEDLIFE, to measure items related to the Mediterranean lifestyle such as dietary habits, physical activity, rest, and social habits. The participants were then followed for a median of 9.4 years, during which mortality information was collected using death register records. The goal of the study was to see whether the Mediterranean lifestyle was associated with lower rates of all-cause, cancer, and cardiovascular disease mortality.
The results of the study showed that greater adherence to a Mediterranean lifestyle was associated with a lower risk of mortality. Participants with higher MEDLIFE scores had a 29% lower risk of mortality from any cause and a 28% lower risk of cancer mortality than participants with low MEDLIFE scores. Additionally, the part of MEDLIFE measuring physical activity, rest, and social habits was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality.
The lead author of the study noted that this study demonstrates that it is possible to transfer the Mediterranean lifestyle to other cultures and continue to see health benefits. Most previous research showing the benefits of the Mediterranean lifestyle has been conducted in the Mediterranean region, but this study shows the potential for the lifestyle to be applied and have benefits across the globe.