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Alexandra Foscolou 1 Article
The Impact of the Financial Crisis on Lifestyle Health Determinants Among Older Adults Living in the Mediterranean Region: The Multinational MEDIS Study (2005-2015)
Alexandra Foscolou, Stefanos Tyrovolas, George Soulis, Anargiros Mariolis, Suzanne Piscopo, Giuseppe Valacchi, Foteini Anastasiou, Christos Lionis, Akis Zeimbekis, Josep-Antoni Tur, Vassiliki Bountziouka, Dimitra Tyrovola, Efthimios Gotsis, George Metallinos, Antonia-Leda Matalas, Evangelos Polychronopoulos, Labros Sidossis, Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos
J Prev Med Public Health. 2017;50(1):1-9.   Published online December 19, 2016
DOI: https://doi.org/10.3961/jpmph.16.101
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AbstractAbstract PDF
Objectives
By the end of the 2000s, the economic situation in many European countries started to deteriorate, generating financial uncertainty, social insecurity and worse health status. The aim of the present study was to investigate how the recent financial crisis has affected the lifestyle health determinants and behaviours of older adults living in the Mediterranean islands.
Methods
From 2005 to 2015, a population-based, multi-stage convenience sampling method was used to voluntarily enrol 2749 older adults (50% men) from 20 Mediterranean islands and the rural area of the Mani peninsula. Lifestyle status was evaluated as the cumulative score of four components (range, 0 to 6), that is, smoking habits, diet quality (MedDietScore), depression status (Geriatric Depression Scale) and physical activity.
Results
Older Mediterranean people enrolled in the study from 2009 onwards showed social isolation and increased smoking, were more prone to depressive symptoms, and adopted less healthy dietary habits, as compared to their counterparts participating earlier in the study (p<0.05), irrespective of age, gender, several clinical characteristics, or socioeconomic status of the participants (an almost 50% adjusted increase in the lifestyle score from before 2009 to after 2009, p<0.001).
Conclusions
A shift towards less healthy behaviours was noticeable after the economic crisis had commenced. Public health interventions should focus on older adults, particularly of lower socioeconomic levels, in order to effectively reduce the burden of cardiometabolic disease at the population level.
Summary

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JPMPH : Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health