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Changes in diet, reducing animal products and increasing consumption of vegetables can not only benefit human health and the overall use of land, but can also play a decisive role in the politics of climate change mitigation. In this sense, the Mediterranean diet (MD) is presented as a sustainable cultural model, respectful of the environment, whose adherence in Mediterranean countries should contribute to mitigating climate change. The recognition of the MD as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2010 obliges the Mediterranean Diet Foundation to continue waging this recovery process and to promote our ancient food traditions in a prism of sustainability and commitment to the environment.
To examine dietary patterns among British adults, associations with Na and macronutrient intakes, and implications for dietary advice.
Principal component analysis of 7 d weighed dietary records.
Adults aged 19–64 years (n 1724).
National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2000/2001).
High Na intake was associated with more energy-dense diets, higher in fat and SFA (percentage of energy) but lower in non-milk extrinsic sugars (NMES). Eight patterns (PC1 to PC8) explained 40 % of the total variance in food intakes. Three patterns – PC3 (high loadings on bread, fats and cheese), PC2 (meat products, eggs and chips) and PC7 (red meat, sauces and alcohol) – were associated with high Na intake. Of these, PC3 correlated with high Na density and Na:K ratio, while PC2 correlated with fat. By contrast, three patterns – ‘health-conscious’ (PC1; vegetables, fruit, fruit juice, fish), ‘breakfast cereals and milk’ (PC6) and ‘chicken and rice’ (PC8) – were associated with modest Na intake, lower Na density and lower fat and SFA. PC2 was positively correlated, and PC1 was negatively correlated, with adding salt to food. Other patterns were ‘tea/coffee and cakes’ (PC4; associated with high SFA and NMES) and ‘soft drinks and snacks’ (PC5; associated with high NMES but not fat or SFA). The dietary patterns of males and females differed slightly.
Dietary patterns PC1, PC6, PC8 (vegetables, fruit, fish, milk, breakfast cereals, poultry) were broadly compatible with guidelines for salt, fat, SFA and NMES. However, other patterns tended to be high in either salt or NMES.
To build up sufficient knowledge of a ‘healthy diet’. Here, we report on the assessment of nutritional knowledge using a uniform method in a large sample of adolescents across Europe.
A cross-sectional study.
The European multicentre HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study conducted in 2006–2007 in ten cities in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece (one inland and one island city), Hungary, Italy, Spain and Sweden.
A total of 3546 adolescents (aged 12·5–17·5 years) completed a validated nutritional knowledge test (NKT). Socio-economic variables and anthropometric data were considered as potential confounders.
NKT scores increased with age and girls had higher scores compared with boys (62 % v. 59 %; P < 0·0001). Scores were approximately 10 % lower in ‘immigrant’ adolescents or in adolescents with ‘immigrant’ mothers. Misconceptions with respect to the sugar content in food or in beverages were found. Overall, there was no correlation between BMI values and NKT scores. After categorization according to BMI, scores increased significantly with BMI group only in boys. These differences disappeared after controlling for socio-economic status (SES). Smoking status and educational level of the mother influenced the NKT scores significantly in boys, as well as the educational levels of both parents in girls.
Nutritional knowledge was modest in our sample. Interventions should be focused on the lower SES segments of the population. They should be initiated at a younger age and should be combined with environmental prevention (e.g. healthy meals in school canteens).
To present the Mediterranean diet (MD) pyramid: a lifestyle for today.
A new graphic representation has been conceived as a simplified main frame to be adapted to the different nutritional and socio-economic contexts of the Mediterranean region. This review gathers updated recommendations considering the lifestyle, dietary, sociocultural, environmental and health challenges that the current Mediterranean populations are facing.
Setting and Subjects
Mediterranean region and its populations.
Many innovations have arisen since previous graphical representations of the MD. First, the concept of composition of the ‘main meals’ is introduced to reinforce the plant-based core of the dietary pattern. Second, frugality and moderation is emphasised because of the major public health challenge of obesity. Third, qualitative cultural and lifestyle elements are taken into account, such as conviviality, culinary activities, physical activity and adequate rest, along with proportion and frequency recommendations of food consumption. These innovations are made without omitting other items associated with the production, selection, processing and consumption of foods, such as seasonality, biodiversity, and traditional, local and eco-friendly products.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle and preserving cultural elements should be considered in order to acquire all the benefits from the MD and preserve this cultural heritage. Considering the acknowledgment of the MD as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2010), and taking into account its contribution to health and general well-being, we hope to contribute to a much better adherence to this healthy dietary pattern and its way of life with this new graphic representation.
HOT TOPIC – Meals eaten or prepared outside of home
To identify and assess actions by which the catering sector could be engaged in strategies for healthier eating out in Europe.
A SWOT analysis was used to assess the participation of the catering sector in actions for healthier eating out. Caterers subsequently shortlisted essential actions to overcome threats and weaknesses the sector may face when engaging in implementing these actions.
Analysis undertaken in the European Union-supported HECTOR project on ‘Eating Out: Habits, Determinants and Recommendations for Consumers and the European Catering Sector’.
Thirty-eight participants from sixteen European countries reflecting a broad multi-stakeholder panel on eating out in Europe.
The catering sector possesses strengths that allow direct involvement in health promotion strategies and could well capitalise on the opportunities offered. A focus on healthy eating may necessitate business re-orientations. The sector was perceived as being relatively weak in terms of its dependency on the supply of ingredients and lack of financial means, technical capacity, know-how and human resources. To foster participation in strategies for healthier eating out, caterers noted that guidelines should be simple, food-based and tailored to local culture. The focus could be on seasonal foods, traditional options and alternative dishes rather than just on ‘healthy eating’. Small-to-medium-sized enterprises have specific concerns and needs that should be considered in the implementation of such strategies.
The study highlights a number of possible policy actions that could be instrumental in improving dietary intake in Europe through healthier eating out.
To study the relationship between dietary intake and the development of type 2 diabetes among Chinese adults.
A prospective cohort study. Dietary assessment was carried out using a validated FFQ. Principal component analysis was used to identify dietary patterns. Dietary glycaemic load and variety of snacks were also calculated.
A hospital-based centre at the Queen Mary Hospital in Hong Kong SAR, China.
A total of 1010 Chinese adults aged 25–74 years who participated in a territory-wide dietary and cardiovascular risk factor prevalence survey in 1995–1996 were followed up for 9–14 years for the development of diabetes.
A total of 690 (68·3 %) individuals completed follow-up during 2005–2008 and seventy-four cases of diabetes were identified over the follow-up period. Four dietary patterns were identified (‘more snacks and drinks’, ‘more vegetables, fruits and fish’, ‘more meat and milk products’ and ‘more refined grains’). After adjustment for age, sex, BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, smoking, alcohol intake, participation in exercise/sports and family history of diabetes, the more vegetables, fruits and fish pattern was associated with a 14 % lower risk (OR per 1 sd increase in score = 0·76; 95 % CI 0·58, 0·99), whereas the more meat and milk products pattern was associated with a 39 % greater risk of diabetes (OR per 1 sd increase in score = 1·39; 95 % CI 1·04, 1·84). Dietary glycaemic load, rice intake, snack intake and variety of snacks were not independently associated with diabetes.
The more vegetables, fruits and fish pattern was associated with reduced risk and the more meat and milk products pattern was associated with an increased risk of diabetes.