Ageing, Arterial Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, and Diet

Mladen Pavlović 1 , Sanja Milković-Kraus 1 , Veljko Jovanović 2  and Mira Hercigonja-Szekeres 3
  • 1 Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Zagreb
  • 2 Retired scientific adviser
  • 3 Hrvatsko Zagorje Polytechnics, Krapina, Croatia

Ageing, Arterial Blood Pressure, Body Mass Index, and Diet

For three decades we followed up for longevity indicators, including diet, arterial blood pressure, and body mass index 379 mobile, long-living persons from Croatia, now aged 70 to 92 years, of whom 167 men aged (78.6±4.0) years and 212 women aged (77.9±4.1) years. One hundred and ninety-five were from the continental and 184 from the coastal Croatia. The participants were examined in 1972, 1982, and again in 2006/7. Changes in body mass index (BMI), arterial blood pressure (ABP), and in answers to our Food Frequency Questionnaire about dietary habits were analysed using log-linear models. Over the last 24 years of aging (age 55 to 78 years) the subjects showed a statistically significant decrease in body mass and height and a significant increase in the systolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure and BMI showed no significant changes over this period. Consumption of preserved and fresh meat, bread, and starch (potato, pastry and rice) dropped significantly with age, while the consumption of fish, fresh and cooked vegetables, fruit, and dairy products significantly increased. These dietary changes were not associated with changes in the systolic and diastolic ABP. About 80 % were overweight (BMI >25 kg m-2) throughout the follow-up, even though their body mass dropped significantly after the age of 55. However, their survival suggests that BMI may not be the best indicator of longevity or healthy aging.

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