The Mediterranean diet is rich in fat and starch, and hence may be related to overweight. We therefore investigated the relationship between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR).
Data were obtained from the control group of a network of case–control studies on cancer conducted in major teaching and general hospitals in four Italian areas between 1991 and 2002. An interviewer-administered validated 78-item food-frequency questionnaire was used to obtain information on the subjects’ habitual diet. Information on socio-economic factors, lifestyle habits and anthropometric measures was also collected. A Mediterranean diet score (MDS) was derived on the basis of eight characteristics of the Mediterranean diet.
Subjects were 6619 patients (3090 men, 3529 women) admitted to hospital for a wide spectrum of acute, non-neoplastic conditions, unrelated to known risk factors for cancer and long-term modifications of diet.
In multiple linear regression models adjusted for age, study centre, education, tobacco smoking, occupational physical activity and total energy intake, the MDS was not related to BMI (β = 0.05 for men and −0.04 for women) or WHR (β = 0.000 and 0.001, respectively) in both sexes.
Adherence to the major characteristics of the Mediterranean diet is unrelated to BMI and WHR, confirming previous data from Greece and Spain.
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