Although nutrition has been advocated as a major determinant of healthy ageing (HA), studies investigating the link between dietary quality and HA are scarce. We investigated the association between adherence to French food-based and nutrient-based guidelines at midlife, as assessed by three dietary scores, and HA. HA was assessed in 2007–2009, among 2329 participants of the SUpplémentation en Vitamines et Minéraux AntioXydants study aged 45–60 years at baseline (1994–1995) and initially free of diabetes, CVD and cancer. HA was defined as not developing any major chronic disease, good physical and cognitive functioning, no limitations in instrumental activities of daily living, no depressive symptoms, no health-related limitations in social life, good overall self-perceived health and no function-limiting pain. Data from repeated 24-h dietary records provided at baseline permitted the computation of the modified French Programme National Nutrition Santé-Guideline Score (mPNNS-GS), the Probability of Adequate Nutrient Intake Dietary Score (PANDiet) and the Diet Quality Index-International (DQI-I). Associations of these scores with HA were assessed by logistic regression. In 2007–2009, 42 % of men and 36 % of women met our criteria of HA. After adjustment for potential confounders, higher scores of the mPNNS-GS (ORquartile 4 v. quartile 1 1·44; 95 % CI 1·10, 1·87; P
trend=0·006) and the PANDiet (1·28; 95 % CI 1·00, 1·64; P
trend=0·03) were associated with higher odds of HA. We observed no association between DQI-I and HA. In conclusion, this study suggests a beneficial long-term role of high adherence to both food-based and nutrient-based French dietary guidelines for a HA process.