The Mediterranean diet and its individual components: Linking with obesity in Italy

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A prolonged positive energy balance may contribute to fat accumulation and obesity development. It was observed several years ago that population resident in southern Italy consumed a particular diet and was less obese and lived significantly longer, and it was referred as the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is a dietary plan based on fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and low intake of saturated fatty acids. A large body of literature suggested that the Mediterranean diet is effective in preventing obesity. Both observational and intervention studies clearly demonstrated that a higher adherence to Mediterranean diet is associated with a reduced risk of being obese and that obese individuals who underwent hypocaloric Mediterranean diet significantly reduced their body weight. Surveys indicate that adherence to the Mediterranean diet in Italy has decreased over the past 50 years. At the same time the prevalence of obesity in Italian population significantly increased, especially in southern Italy, reaching alarming proportions. National initiatives were promoted to recover the nutritional habits inspired to Mediterranean diet, and recent data show a slight decrease in the prevalence of obesity over the last 15 years, particularly among children and adolescents. Although obesity is still a matter of concern in Italy, the effectiveness of nutrition programs based on the Mediterranean diet suggests that preserving the traditional Mediterranean dietary habits may contribute to prevent obesity with beneficial effects on health.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospiteThe Mediterranean Diet
Numero di pagine8
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2020


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