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Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2014 Aug;24(8):853-60. doi: 10.1016/j.numecd.2014.02.014. Epub 2014 Mar 1.

Decline of the Mediterranean diet at a time of economic crisis. Results from the Moli-sani study.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, Via dell'Elettronica, 86077 Pozzilli (Isernia), Italy. Electronic address: marialaura.bonaccio@neuromed.it.
2
Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, Via dell'Elettronica, 86077 Pozzilli (Isernia), Italy.
3
Epicomed Research Srl, 86100 Campobasso, Italy.
4
Associazione Cuore Sano ONLUS, Campobasso, Italy.
5
Transfusion Unit, Ospedale di Isernia, Isernia, Italy.
6
Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, IRCCS Istituto Neurologico Mediterraneo Neuromed, Via dell'Elettronica, 86077 Pozzilli (Isernia), Italy. Electronic address: licia.iacoviello@moli-sani.org.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIMS:

Adherence to Mediterranean diet (MD) is reportedly declining in the last decades. We aimed to investigate the adherence to MD over the period 2005-2010 and exploring the possible role of the global economic crisis in accounting for the changing in the dietary habits in Italy.

METHODS AND RESULTS:

Cross-sectional analysis in a population-based cohort study which randomly recruited 21,001 southern Italian citizens enrolled within the Moli-sani study. Food intake was determined by the Italian EPIC food frequency questionnaire. Adherence to MD was appraised by the Italian Mediterranean Index (IMI). A wealth score was derived to evaluate the economic position and used together with other socioeconomic indicators. Highest prevalence of adherence to MD was observed during the years 2005-2006 (31.3%) while the prevalence dramatically fell down in the years 2007-2010 (18.3%; P<0.0001). The decrease was stronger in the elderly, less affluent groups, and among those living in urban areas. Accordingly, we observed that in 2007-2010 socioeconomic indicators were strongly associated with higher adherence to MD, whereas no association was detected in the years before the economic crisis began; both wealth score and education were major determinants of high adherence to MD with 31% (95%CI: 18-46%) higher adherence to this pattern within the wealthier group compared to the less affluent category.

CONCLUSION:

Adherence to MD has considerably decreased over the last few years. In 2007-2010 socioeconomic indicators have become major determinants of adherence to MD, a fact likely linked to the economic downturn.

KEYWORDS:

Cerebrovascular risk; Economic crisis; Mediterranean Diet; Obesity; socioeconomic status

PMID:
24819818
DOI:
10.1016/j.numecd.2014.02.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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