"The promotion of a Mediterranean dietary pattern is no longer a feature of Mediterranean countries."
London, June 20 - Children taking a Mediterranean diet are at least 15 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than those children who do not, claims a new study.

Weight, height, waist circumference and percent body fat mass were measured in children from eight countries - Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Belgium, Estonia and Hungary.

The adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet was assessed by a score calculating by giving one point for high intakes of each food group which was considered typical of the Mediterranean diet such as vegetables, fruit and nuts, fish and cereal grains, explained study author Gianluca Tognon from University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

One point was given for low intakes of foods untypical of the Mediterranean diet such as dairy and meat products, he said.

High scoring children were then considered high-adherent and compared to the others.

The team found that children with a high adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet were 15 percent less likely to be overweight or obese than low-adherent children.

The findings were independent of age, sex, socio-economic status or country of residence.

The promotion of a Mediterranean dietary pattern is no longer a feature of Mediterranean countries.

Considering its potential beneficial effects on obesity prevention, this dietary pattern should be part of EU obesity prevention strategies, said Tognon.


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