The health (self-reported health conditions) and nutritional status (food and nutrient intake, nutritional biochemistry, anthropometry) of 189 elderly Greeks living in Melbourne, Australia were described and compared with 104 elderly Greeks living in a rural town in Greece (Spata) using a validated health and food frequency questionnaire. Spata was chosen because the traditional diet is maintained by the community and may act as a 'surrogate' measure of diets prevalent in Greece prior to the Melbourne sample's migration to Australia in the 1960s. This enabled identification of dietary trends that may be contributing to the deteriorating health of elderly migrant Greeks. Compared with Spata Greeks, Melbourne Greeks had significantly greater intakes of animal foods (meat), legumes, protein, margarine, polyunsaturated fats, beer and lower intakes of cereals, carbohydrates, wine and olive oil. The contribution of these dietary differences, as well as the influence of high storage-iron levels, impaired immunity and greater prevalence of obesity and abdominal fatness, to the increasing prevalence of heart disease and cancer (especially amongst women) requires further study.