European Journal of Nutrition

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 249–257

Determinants of the adherence to an “a priori” defined Mediterranean dietary pattern


  • A. Sánchez-Villegas
    • Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Navarra
  • J. A. Martínez
    • Departamento de Fisiología y Nutrición, Facultad de Farmacia. Universidad de Navarra, Irunlarrea 1, 31080 Pamplona, Spain.
  • J. De Irala
    • Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Navarra
  • M. A. Martínez-González
    • Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Navarra
  • and members of the SUN research group

DOI: 10.1007/s00394-002-0382-2

Cite this article as:
Sánchez-Villegas, A., Martínez, J., De Irala, J. et al. Eur J Nutr (2002) 41: 249. doi:10.1007/s00394-002-0382-2


Background: A prospective cohort study with university level participants was initiated to study the effect of Mediterranean diet on health. Aims: The objective of this study was to identify possible lifestyle and socioeconomic variables associated with the consumption of a Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP). Method: This analysis includes 1587 males and 2260 females. MDP was defined “a priori” by summing the standardized residuals of nutrients and foods after adjusting a regression model using total energy intake as the independent variable. Multiple regression and non-parametric locally weighted regression models were adjusted with the relative adherence to the MDP as the dependent variable in males and females. Results: Women were more compliant than men with the MDP (Coefficient regression (b) = 4.1; Confidence Interval (CI) 95 % = 3.2 to 4.9). The compliance with the MDP was significantly poorer among younger participants both in men and women (p < 0.001 in men and in women). Participants who were more physically active were more likely to fulfill the traditional MDP (p = 0.01 in men and p < 0.001 in women). Conclusions: Our findings provide evidence supporting the progressive departure from the traditional MDP in younger and highly educated subjects of the Mediterranean area. A more active life-style is associated with a better compliance with the MDP.

Key words eating patterns – Mediterranean dietary pattern – confounders

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2002