Purpose: Adopting a Mediterranean-like dietary pattern may help in preventing several chronic diseases. We assessed the eating behaviour and compliance with the Mediterranean diet pyramid recommendations in Italy. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study conducted in subjects aged ≥ 20 years. A 14-question survey based on the updated Mediterranean diet pyramid was launched online from April 2015 to November 2016. At test completion, a personalized pyramid displaying the possible deficiencies and/or excesses was generated, that could be the basis to plan diet and lifestyle modifications. Results: Overall, 27,540 subjects completed the survey: the proportion of females (75.6%), younger subjects (20.7%) and people with a University degree (33.1%) resembled those of the Italian population of Internet users rather than of the general population. 37.8% of participants declared a sedentary lifestyle, including 29.6% of those aged 20–29 years. A lower-than-recommended intake of all food categories included in the Mediterranean diet pyramid, along with excess of sweets, red and processed meats, emerged, that may affect health in the long term. Low adherence to recommendations was observed especially among females and older people. Notably, a discrepancy surfaced between the responders’ perceived and actual behaviour toward the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables (81.8% vs 22.7–32.8%, respectively). Conclusions: The nutritional habits and lifestyle of Italian participants are poorly adherent to the Mediterranean diet recommendations. The personalized pyramid tool may help in raising the awareness of individuals and their families on where to intervene, possibly with the support of healthcare professionals, to improve their behaviour. Level of evidence: Level V, cross-sectional descriptive study.
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40519-019-00807-4|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000495197800001|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-85075118925|
|Titolo:||Nutrition behaviour and compliance with the Mediterranean diet pyramid recommendations: an Italian survey-based study|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|