There is a large amount of literature regarding the benefits of the Mediterranean diet in the adult population; however, there is growing curiosity about the individuals who naturally adhere to those principles early in life. The "Evaluation of Dietary Habits in Adolescents," carried out by the National Research Council of Italy in 2009, is a survey that aimed to assess the dietary habits and lifestyles of Italian adolescents and their adherence to the Mediterranean diet. We hypothesized that there would be differences across regions, with a higher adherence in Southern Italy compared with Northern Italy based on geography. The survey was conducted in 3 different geographic locations in Italy and included a convenience sample of adolescents who attended either a middle or high school. The participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire concerning demographic data, lifestyle factors, and eating patterns, and scores were assigned according to adherence to the Mediterranean diet, as calculated using Trichopoulou's Mediterranean diet scale. The final sample included 565 adolescents, between 12 and 19 years old, who attended school in the northeastern, northwestern, or southern regions of Italy in 2009. According to the findings, 38.6% of the respondents had scores indicating a low adherence to the Mediterranean diet, whereas only 14% had scores showing a high adherence. Teenagers from the Southern region showed the highest adherence. Those with a high adherence to the Mediterranean diet consumed higher quantities of fiber, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, folic acid, vitamin A, vitamin D, and monounsaturated fats.
- Eating habits
- Mediterranean diet score
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics