A classification and regression tree analysis for the evaluation of the role of nutritional services on cardiovascular disease risk status of older people living in Greek islands and Cyprus
The purpose of this study was to evaluate, with classification-regression tree analysis, the structure of the associations between nutritional and health care services and the cumulative prevalence of the classical cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors of older individuals living in Greek islands and Cyprus.During 2005-2009, 744 men and 742 women (>65 years) from nine Greek islands and Cyprus Republic were voluntarily enrolled in the Mediterranean Islands study; various socio-demographic, clinical and lifestyle characteristics were recorded. Moreover, information regarding practising dieticians (n = 88) and nutritional services provided in these islands was also recorded.Both medical and nutrition services act more effectively to elders' cardiovascular health. For example, older individuals living in areas with nutritional services' support for at least five years, with collaboration between dieticians and physicians, reduced the CVD risk factors (CVD RF) burden by 42%. Whereas, in areas with dietetic support less than five years, but more than two, the presence of advanced health care system seemed to control the CVD RF burden to the population average.Despite the fact that the present work shares some limitations mainly because of its cross-sectional design, the classification and regression tree approach has clearly demonstrated the interrelation between nutritional services and the health care system towards achieving benefits among the elders' quality of life.