According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the elderly population will continue to rise posing a public health challenge to societies and undermining the importance of a life course approach to “active ageing”. Consequently, the frequency of various age-related cardiometabolic diseases, like obesity, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia, will significantly increase. From public health and policy perspectives, the definition and evaluation of ‘successful ageing’ is of major importance.
Even though ageing is time dependent, there are many factors that influence its development meaning that individual ageing varies significantly among different populations. The first definition of successful ageing proposed that it should include the following three components: low probability of disease and disability, high cognitive and physical capacity, and active participation through social activities (e.g. social relationships, productive activities, education). It has been suggested that a multi-domain approach of successful ageing that incorporates biomedical, social functioning, psychological and lay (subjective) could better predict different health outcomes than a single domain indicator. More recent definitions also incorporate individual’s adaptation to new conditions and capacity of self-management or the syndrome of frailty.
The MEDIS (MEDiterranean Islands Study) is a health and nutrition related survey of older people (>65 years) living in the Mediterranean islands. The aim of the study is to evaluate the relationships between socio-demographic, clinical, lifestyle (activities and dietary habits) and psychological characteristics and the presence of various cardiovascular disease risk factors, as well as trajectories of successful aging, among elderly individuals without history of chronic disease, living in all Mediterranean Islands, and in the Mediterranean region, in general. The study has a longitudinal design with plans for 5 and 10 years of follow-up.
Start date: 15th June 2005
End date: Ongoing
Dept of Kinesiology and Health, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, United States