The EPIC-Elderly project aimed at identifying the prevailing dietary patterns among elderly Europeans and at investigating the association of mortality from all causes (longevity) with these dietary patterns (exposure). Data source was the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and nutrition (EPIC) (http://www.iarc.fr/en/Index-of-IARC-sites). EPIC-Elderly used the already collected EPIC-data on diet, medical history, somatometry, sociodemographic characteristics, as well as, information on mortality and created the EPIC-Elderly databank containing data for about 100000 European males and females, from Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and the UK, aged 60 years or more (at recruitment). The goal of using the EPIC-data is that the EPIC-Elderly cohort covers a broad spectrum of the participating European population facilitating generalizability and applicability of the results to this population. In addition, the EPIC-Elderly partners (co-ordinator and partners) being a team of scientists who have collaborated successfully in the past for the needs of EPIC, assured an excellent scientific networking that was established in the context of the EPIC-Elderly project.
The scientific achievements include the establishment of appropriate methodology regarding the identification of dietary patterns among European elders, the identification of an optimal nutrition score, as well as, the investigation of the association of this score with longevity of the elderly.
Preliminary and final results of the project were presented in conferences and meetings organised by the European Commission. Dissemination of the results of the project was also realized through its scientific production. Eight scientific papers were produced from appropriate analyses of the entire cohort (4 papers) and of national cohorts (4 papers) of EPIC-Europeans 60 years of age or older at enrollment.
A leaflet containing the results of the project in lay language was also produced. The leaflet (link to the leaflet) (in English) was prepared by the coordinator and circulated to all participants and contributors of the project, as well as, to the European Commission. The leaflet was disseminated at the national level by illustrating it to appropriate audiences (e.g. family doctors, members and visitors at the participating Institutes). In most participating centres the initiatives of the project were presented to the media (radio and TV presentations). The leaflet was translated into German, Greek and Dutch. Country-specific dissemination activities included distribution of the leaflets to the EPIC-participants (in Germany and in Greece by post), to members and visitors in the respective Institutes and to any other interested bodies.
The experience of EPIC-Elderly served also as the basis for a consequent successful EC grant application, the EPIC-Elderly Network on Aging and Health, the aim of which was to define healthy ageing of the elderly and to investigate the respective determinants.