Cooking Frequency May Enhance Survival in Taiwanese Elderly

Journal Article

Rosalind Chia-Yu Chen, Meei-Shyuan Lee, Yu-Hung Chang, Mark L Wahlqvist*
* MAI Emeritus Professor

Published in Public Health Nutrition 2012 (link to the full paper)

SUMMARY: This cohort-study study aimed to investigate the association between cooking behaviour and longterm survival among elderly Taiwanese. The duration of follow-up was the interval between the date of interview and the date of death or 31 December 2008, when censored for survivors. Information used included demographics, socio-economic status, health behaviours, cooking frequencies, physical function, cognitive function, nutrition knowledge awareness, eating out habits and food and nutrient intakes. These data were linked to death records. Cox proportional-hazards models were used to evaluate cooking frequency on death from 1999 to 2008 with related covariate adjustments. Data from the Elderly Nutrition and Health Survey in Taiwan, a nationally representative free-living elderly people aged ≥ 65 years, conducted in 1999 and 2000 was used in this study (n 1888).

During a 10-year follow-up, 695 participants died. Those who cooked most frequently were younger, women, unmarried, less educated, non-drinkers of alcohol, non-smokers, without chewing difficulty, had spouse as dinner companion, normal cognition, who walked or shopped more than twice weekly, who ate less meat and more vegetables. Highly frequent cooking (.5 times/week, compared with never) predicted survival (hazard ratio (HR) = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.36, 0.61); with adjustment for physical function, cognitive function, nutrition knowledge awareness and other covariates, HR was 0.59 (95% CI, 0.41, 0.86).Women benefited more from cooking more frequently than did men, with decreased HR, 51% v. 24%, when most was compared with least. A 2-year delay in the assessment of survivorship led to similar findings. It was concluded that cooking behaviour favourably predicts survivorship. Highly frequent cooking may favour women more than men.