The Mediterranean diet is frequently touted as being highly beneficial toward human health, however, some studies have
suggested that in the locations where this type of diet originated, adherence has dropped as more people adopt a more Western-style diet.
A new study in the journal Nutrition aimed to examine adherence to the Mediterranean diet by Greek youths and to attempt to understand possible trends by comparing adherence to a variety of demographic, lifestyle, and socio-economic factors.
A total of 525 Greek youths living in Athens or Heraklion, between the ages of 12 and 18, were included in this study.
Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was determined by questionnaires. Other data used in the analysis included: gender, age, height, weight, place of residence, parents education, parents employment, family structure, number of times “going out” per week, hobbies, TV watching, and sleeping habits.
- 21% of Greek youths had a strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
- Strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with:
- Mother’s educational level.
- Living with both parents.
- Living in a smaller city.
- Weak adherence to the Mediterranean diet was associated with:
- Using the computer 4 or more hours per day.
- A lack of physical activity.
- There was no correlation with adherence to the Mediterranean diet and body mass index.
The results of this study show that only 21% of Greek youths maintain a relatively strict Mediterranean diet. Youths with mothers
having higher education levels, youths living with both parents, and youths living in a smaller city all seemed to correlate positively with strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet, while youths with mothers who had lower educational levels resulted in a poor adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
Not included in this study was economic information, which, as we’ve seen in previous studies, may also have a strong influence on adherence to the Mediterranean diet. Economic factors could also have associations with the factors in this study shown to have influence on Mediterranean diet adherence.