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Mass media information and adherence to Mediterranean diet: results from the Moli-sani study



To investigate the association between mass media information, dietary habits and risk factors for cardiovascular disease in an Italian adult population.


Subsample of 1,132 subjects (mean age 53 ± 10, 50% men) enrolled in the Moli-sani Project, a population-based cohort study. A specific questionnaire on exposure to information from various media sources was elaborated, validated, and administered. A mass media exposure score was obtained from principal component analysis of ten items of media exposure. Dietary habits were assessed based on eating patterns obtained from principal component analysis of 45 food groups derived from the EPIC food frequency questionnaire and by the Mediterranean score.


In a multivariable general linear regression analysis including age, sex, social status, physical activity, C-reactive protein, total calories intake, three dietary patterns or Mediterranean score, higher media exposure was positively associated with adherence to a Mediterranean-like eating pattern (P = 0.0018) as well as to the Mediterranean score (P = 0.0005).


Exposure to mass media information is significantly associated with greater adherence to both Mediterranean diet and Mediterranean-like eating pattern, an association that public health strategies should take into account.

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The Moli-sani Project was partially supported by research Grants from Pfizer Foundation (Rome, Italy) and the Italian Ministry of University and Research (MIUR, Rome, Italy)—Programma Triennale di Ricerca, Decreto no.1588. Neither sponsor had any role in study design, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication.

Conflict of interest

All authors had full access to all of the data in the study and take responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis. None of the authors had a personal or financial conflict of interest.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Licia Iacoviello.

Additional information

On behalf of the Moli-sani Project Investigators. Moli-sani Project Investigators are listed in the Appendix 1.


Appendix 1

Moli-sani Project Investigators

Chairperson: Licia Iacoviello.

Steering Committee: Maria Benedetta Donati and Giovanni de Gaetano (Chairpersons), Simona Giampaoli (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma).

Bio-ethics Committee: Jos Vermylen (University of Leuven, Belgio), Chairman, Ignacio De Paula Carrasco (Pontificia Academia Pro Vita, Roma), Enrico Garaci (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Roma).

Event adjudicating Committee: Deodato Assanelli (Università di Brescia), Francesco Alessandrini (UCSC, Campobasso), Vincenzo Centritto (Campobasso), Paola Muti (Istituto Nazionale Tumori Regina Elena IRCCS, Roma), Holger Schunemann (McMaster University Health Sciences Centre, Canada), Pasquale Spagnuolo (Ospedale San Timoteo, Termoli), Dante Staniscia (Ospedale San Timoteo, Termoli), Sergio Storti (UCSC, Campobasso).

Scientific and Organizing Secretariat: Francesco Zito (Coordinator), Americo Bonanni, Chiara Cerletti, Amalia De Curtis, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Licia Iacoviello, Antonio Mascioli, Marco Olivieri.

Data Management and Analysis: Augusto Di Castelnuovo (Coordinator), Antonella Arcari, Floriana Centritto (till December 2008), Simona Costanzo, Romina di Giuseppe, Francesco Gianfagna, Iolanda Santimone.

Informatics: Marco Olivieri (Coordinator), Maurizio Giacci, Antonella Padulo (till September 2008), Dario Petraroia (till September 2007).

Research Biobank and Biochemical Analyses: Amalia De Curtis (Coordinator), Sara Magnacca, Federico Marracino (till June 2009), Maria Spinelli, Christian Silvestri (till December 2007), Cristina Vallese (till September 2008);

Genetics: Daniela Cugino, Monica de Gaetano (till October 2008), Mirella Graziano (till July 2009), Iolanda Santimone, Maria Carmela Latella (till December 2008), Gianni Quacquaruccio (till December 2007);

Communication: Americo Bonanni (Coordinator), Marialaura Bonaccio, Francesca De Lucia.

Moli-family Project: Branislav Vohnout (Coordinator) (till December 2008), Francesco Gianfagna, Andrea Havranova (till July 2008), Antonella Cutrone (till October 2007);

Recruitment staff (2005-2010): Franco Zito (General Coordinator), Secretariat: Mariarosaria Persichillo (Coordinator), Angelita Verna, Maura Di Lillo (till March 2009), Irene Di Stefano (till March 2008), Blood sampling: Agostino Panichella, Antonio Rinaldo Vizzarri, Branislav Vohnout (till December 2008), Agnieszka Pampuch (till August 2007); Spirometry: Antonella Arcari (Coordinator), Daniela Barbato (till July 2009), Francesca Bracone, Simona Costanzo, Carmine Di Giorgio (till September 2008), Sara Magnacca, Simona Panebianco (till December 2008), Antonello Chiovitti (till March 2008), Federico Marracino (till December 2007), Sergio Caccamo (till August 2006), Vanesa Caruso (till May 2006); Electrocardiograms: Livia Rago (Coordinator), Daniela Cugino, Francesco Zito, Alessandra Ferri (till October 2008), Concetta Castaldi (till September 2008), Marcella Mignogna (till September 2008); Tomasz Guszcz (till January 2007), Questionnaires: Romina di Giuseppe, (Coordinator), Paola Barisciano, Lorena Buonaccorsi (till December 2008), Floriana Centritto (till December 2008), Francesca De Lucia, Francesca Fanelli (till January 2009), Iolanda Santimone, Anna Sciarretta, Maura Di Lillo (till March 2009), Isabella Sorella (till September 2008), Irene Di Stefano (till March 2008), Emanuela Plescia (till December 2007), Alessandra Molinaro (till December 2006), Christiana Cavone (till September 2005);

Call Center: Giovanna Galuppo (till June 2009), Maura Di Lillo (till March 2009), Concetta Castaldi (till September 2008), Dolores D’Angelo (till May 2008), Rosanna Ramacciato (till May 2008).

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Food grouping used in the dietary pattern analyses

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Bonaccio, M., Di Castelnuovo, A., Costanzo, S. et al. Mass media information and adherence to Mediterranean diet: results from the Moli-sani study. Int J Public Health 57, 589–597 (2012).

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