Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on gu.se

Children consuming a Mediterranean Diet are 15% less likely to be overweight

News: Jun 10, 2014

A study of 8 European countries presented at this year’s European Congress on Obesity (ECO)in Sofia, Bulgaria, shows that children consuming a diet more in line with the rules of the Mediterranean one are 15% less likely to be overweight or obese than those children who do not.

The research is by Dr Gianluca Tognon, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden, and colleagues across the 8 countries: Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Belgium, Estonia and Hungary.

The researchers used data from the IDEFICS study (Identification and Prevention of Dietary – and lifestyle – induced health effects in Children and infantS), funded by the European Commission. Weight, height, waist circumference, and percent body fat mass were measured in children from these eight countries.

Vegetables, fruit, nuts and fish

The parents of these children were interviewed by means of a questionnaire specifically designed for the IDEFICS study and enquiring about the consumption frequency of 43 foods. Additional dietary data have been complemented by a telephone interview performed on a sub-sample of parents.

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 (vegetables, fruit and nuts, fish and cereal grains), as well as one point for low intakes of foods untypical of the Mediterranean diet (such as dairy and meat products). High scoring children were then considered high-adherent and compared to the others.

Swedish children most Mediterranean

Interestingly, the prevalence of high adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet was found to be independent of the geographical distribution, with the Swedish children scoring the highest (followed by the Italians) and the children from Cyprus scoring the lowest.

The team found that children with a high adherence to a Mediterranean-like diet were 15% less likely to be overweight or obese than low-adherent children. The findings were independent of age, sex, socioeconomic status or country of residence.

The children with high adherence at baseline were 10-15% less likely to be among those who went through major increases in BMI, waist circumference and body fat.

“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 and its promotion should be particularly intense in those countries where low levels of adherence are detected.” says Gianluca Tognon, researcher at the Sahlgrenska Academy.

Dr Gianluca Tognon, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Photo: Cornelia Schmidt

+4631786 38 69

Originally published on: sahlgrenska.gu.se


  • Women gain weight when job demands are high

    [6 Feb 2019] Heavy pressures at work seem to predispose women to weight gain, irrespective of whether they have received an academic education. This is shown in a study of more than 3,800 Swedes.

  • Good help in primary care for children with obesity

    [3 Dec 2018] Children treated for obesity in primary or outpatient care have a relatively good chance of fending off weight problems over the next few years as well, a study published in Acta Paediatrica shows.

  • New knowledge of pubertal growth

    [3 Dec 2018] In monitoring and prediction of children's growth, the spurt in puberty is often considered too variable to be predictable. However, new findings and methods enable a better picture of how children and adolescents grow, especially during puberty.

  • No risk with two teaspoons of salt a day

    [7 Sep 2018] A salt intake equivalent to slightly more than two teaspoons per day does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack or stroke, according to a comprehensive international study published in The Lancet.

  • A focus on dental health can protect children from developing overweight

    [8 Nov 2017] Talking about dental health with children and parents - about what is healthy and unhealthy for your teeth - can be one way to prevent children from developing overweight. This is suggested in a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy on children¿s diet, BMI and well-being.

  • How much you weigh as a teenager is linked to your risk of heart failure in early middle age

    [20 Jun 2016] Research that followed more than 1.6 million Swedish men from adolescence onwards between 1968 and 2005 has shown that those who were overweight as teenagers were more likely to develop heart failure in early middle age.

  • Abstracts from the conference European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg

    [8 Jun 2016] Several researchers and doctoral students took part in the conference European Obesity Summit in Gothenburg June 1-4.

  • Mental disorders in the teen years increases the risk for early stroke

    [7 Mar 2016] Mental disorders in the form of anxiety, depression, personality disorders and addiction at 18 years of age can be linked to an increased risk of early stroke later in life. But, good physical fitness appears to be protective. A study conducted on over 45,000 Swedish men by researchers at Sahlgrenska University arrived at these finding.

  • Swedish diagnostic method for Alzheimer´s becomes international standard

    [30 Oct 2015] Researchers at Gothenburg University have developed a reference method for standardized measurements that diagnose Alzheimer´s disease decades before symptoms appear. The method has now formally been classified as the international reference method, which means that it will be used as the standard in Alzheimer´s diagnostics worldwide.

  • Late-life body mass index decline linked to Alzheimer gene

    [23 Oct 2015] Women who carry a particular Alzheimer´s Disease-related gene experience a steeper reduction in body mass index after the age of 70. The discovery, made by researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, may facilitate earlier diagnosis and treatment of dementia.

More news


To the calendar

Page Manager: Katarina Englund|Last update: 6/5/2012

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?