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