Med Diet Loses Ground Where it Started

New research suggests that an 'American-style' diet is moving in, and it may be here to stay.

May. 31, 2018
By Krystle Vermes

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The Mediterranean diet has long been a hall­mark of good eat­ing habits, with its pri­or­i­ti­za­tion of plant-based foods. However, new research sug­gests that it’s falling out of favor — specif­i­cally among cer­tain Europeans.

It is cru­cial to increase the con­sump­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles in chil­dren while reduc­ing their intake of sweets and par­tic­u­larly sug­ary soft drinks.- João Breda, World Health Organization

According to data from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative, one in five boys in coun­tries like Greece, Italy and Spain are now obese. Comparatively, less than 10 per­cent of kids from Northern European coun­tries, such as Norway and Ireland, were obese. 

As it turns out, the Mediterranean diet is no longer in favor with most of Southern Europe, accord­ing to the WHO researchers. Kristie Lancaster, asso­ciate pro­fes­sor of nutri­tion at New York University, told MarketWatch that the lat­est data is sig­nif­i­cant because it marks the expan­sion of what she called the American diet.” 

This is to say that American fast food estab­lish­ments, such as McDonald’s, can be eas­ily found around the world. For this rea­son, more peo­ple in regions such as south­ern Europe, are see­ing their diets altered by the avail­abil­ity of saltier, less healthy options. 

It is cru­cial to increase the con­sump­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles in chil­dren while reduc­ing their intake of sweets and par­tic­u­larly sug­ary soft drinks,” said João Breda, head of the WHO European Office for Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, Moscow, Russian Federation. It also very impor­tant to increase the aware­ness of par­ents and fam­i­lies on the prob­lem of child­hood obe­sity, given that our data show that many moth­ers do not rec­og­nize their chil­dren as over­weight or obese.” 

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The Mediterranean diet con­sists of pri­mar­ily con­sum­ing fruits, veg­eta­bles, legumes, unre­fined grains, olive oil and fish and, although it typ­i­cally includes low-fat or skim dairy prod­ucts, experts say there is no rea­son why chil­dren can­not thrive on the plan as long as they con­sume whole milk until the age of two, pro­fes­sor of nutri­tion and pedi­atrics Rachel Johnson told CNN. 

In adults, the Mediterranean diet is thought to improve brain, heart and bone health. For chil­dren, the diet can do a world of good as well, poten­tially reduc­ing the risk of obe­sity, asthma and allergies. 

Although there are numer­ous stud­ies cit­ing the health ben­e­fits of the Mediterranean diet, it’s worth not­ing that you should always con­sult your doc­tor before mak­ing dietary changes. He or she can give you insight into how you can improve your over­all well-being in a safe manner.





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