Background: Recent findings suggest a possible role of diet, particularly nutrient intakes
and dietary patterns, in the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI); few studies, however,
have been explicitly devoted to the relationship between dietary habits and MCI.
Objectives: We aimed to explore the association between dietary habits, including meal timing,
and MCI among older Chinese adults.
Methods: This cross-sectional study involved data collected at the baseline of the Tianjin Elderly
Nutrition and Cognition Cohort (TENCC) study, in which 3,111 community-dwelling older adults
(326 MCI patients and 2,785 non-MCIs) from a rural area of Tianjin, China, were recruited. In
March 2018 to June 2019, all participants underwent a detailed neuropsychological evaluation that
allowed for psychometric MCI classification. Information on self-reported dietary behaviors was
gathered via face-to-face interviews. Crude and multivariable-adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95%
confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using logistic regression models.
Results: In the multivariable-adjusted models, eating breakfast 4 to 6 times per week (vs. ≤3 times
per week, OR: 0.45; 95% CI: 0.26, 0.75), drinking water before breakfast (yes vs. no, OR: 0.64;
95% CI: 0.51, 0.82), consuming water ≥1.5L per day (vs. <1.5L per day, OR: 0.64; 95% CI: 0.51,
0.82), and having lunch after 12:00 (vs. before 12:00, OR: 0.59; 95% CI: 0.47, 0.75) were associated
with decreased risk of MCI. Participants who consumed higher amounts of cooking oil were at a
higher risk of MCI (moderate vs. low, OR: 1.42; 95% CI: 1.04, 1.92; high vs. low, OR: 1.40; 95%
Conclusion : This study suggests that dietary habits, including breakfast frequency, daily water
consumption, cooking oil consumption, and meal timing, may be associated with the risk of MCI.
If replicated, these findings would open new possibilities of dietary interventions for MCI.