Association between the Mediterranean lifestyle, metabolic syndrome and mortality: a whole-country cohort in Spain
Background Evidence is limited about the joint health effects of the Mediterranean lifestyle on cardiometabolic health and mortality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the association of the Mediterranean lifestyle with the frequency of the metabolic syndrome (MS) and the risk of all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in Spain. Methods Data were taken from ENRICA study, a prospective cohort of 11,090 individuals aged 18+ years, representative of the population of Spain, who were free of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes at 2008-2010 and were followed-up to 2017. The Mediterranean lifestyle was assessed at baseline with the 27-item MEDLIFE index (with higher score representing better adherence). Results Compared to participants in the lowest quartile of MEDLIFE, those in the highest quartile had a multivariable-adjusted odds ratio 0.73 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.5, 0.93) for MS, 0.63. (0.51, 0.80) for abdominal obesity, and 0.76 (0.63, 0.90) for low HDL-cholesterol. Similarly, a higher MELDIFE score was associated with lower HOMA-IR and highly-sensitivity C-reactive protein (P-trend < 0.001). During a mean follow-up of 8.7 years, 330 total deaths (74 CVD deaths) were ascertained. When comparing those in highest vs. lowest quartile of MEDLIFE, the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratio (95% CI) was 0.58 (0.37, 0.90) for total mortality and 0.33 (0.11, 1.02) for cardiovascular mortality. Conclusions The Mediterranean lifestyle was associated with lower frequency of MS and reduced all-cause mortality in Spain. Future studies should determine if this also applies to other Mediterranean countries, and also improve cardiovascular health outside the Mediterranean basin.