MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Tognon: We found that eating a pattern rich in vegetables, fruit, nuts, cereal grains and fish, that we call a Mediterranean-like diet was not only inversely associated to being overweight or obese, but also protective against an increase in body mass index and waist circumference at a 2-year follow up.
MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?
Dr. Tognon: Actually yes, since an important finding was that a Mediterranean-like diet is no more necessarily a feature of the Mediterranean countries. In fact, we noticed for instance that the highest adherence was in Sweden, where the children had the highest frequencies of intakes of cereal grains, fruit, nuts and vegetables. Surprisingly, the lowest adherence rates were assessed in Cyprus while in Italy we had the lowest frequencies of intake of vegetables.
MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Tognon: The take home message is that there is a need to recommend to children a dietary pattern which is in line with what I have described above, particularly in the Mediterranean countries where people might still be convinced that they are following a diet like this, which is often not true anymore.
MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Tognon: A lot of studies have been conducted on this topic. In children, most of them have been performed in Mediterranean countries only, so there is a need for more international comparisons like the one we have done. Also, further studies are needed to confirm our results on childhood overweight and obesity in other populations.
EUROPEAN CONGRESS ON OBESITY (ECO) Abstract 2014
Mediterranean diet, overweight and body composition in children from eight European countries: Cross-sectional and prospective results from the IDEFICS study
Gianluca Tognon et al