Mediterranean dietary patterns and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA project

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Background: There is an association between a greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether this dietary pattern may be protective also against the development of obesity. Objective: We assessed the association between the adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP), prospective weight change, and the incidence of overweight or obesity. Design: We conducted a prospective cohort study [the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Physical Activity, Nutrition, Alcohol Consumption, Cessation of Smoking, Eating Out of Home, and Obesity (EPIC-PANACEA) project] in 373,803 individuals (103,455 men and 270,348 women; age range: 25-70 y) from 10 European countries. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at recruitment and after a median follow-up time of 5 y. The relative Mediterranean Diet Score (rMED; score range: 0-18) was used to assess adherence to the MDP according to the consumption of 9 dietary components that are characteristic of the Mediterranean diet. The association between the rMED and 5-y weight change was modeled through multiadjusted mixed-effects linear regression. Results: Individuals with a high adherence to the MDP according to the rMED (11-18 points) showed a 5-y weight change of 0.16 kg (95% CI: 0.24, 0.07 kg) and were 10% (95% CI: 4%, 18%) less likely to develop overweight or obesity than were individuals with a low adherence to the MDP (0-6 points). The low meat content of the Mediterranean diet seemed to account for most of its positive effect against weight gain. Conclusion: This study shows that promoting the MDP as a model of healthy eating may help to prevent weight gain and the development of obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2010;92:912-21.


  • Dora Romaguera
  • Teresa Norat
  • Anne-Claire Vergnaud
  • Traci Mouw
  • Anne M. May
  • Antonio Agudo
  • Genevieve Buckland
  • Nadia Slimani
  • Sabina Rinaldi
  • Elisabeth Couto
  • Francoise Clavel-Chapelon
  • Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault
  • Vanessa Cottet
  • Sabine Rohrmann
  • Birgit Teucher
  • Manuela Bergmann
  • Heiner Boeing
  • Anne Tjonneland
  • Jytte Halkjaer
  • Marianne Uhre Jakobsen
  • Christina C. Dahm
  • Noemie Travier
  • Laudina Rodriguez
  • Maria Jose Sanchez
  • Pilar Amiano
  • Aurelio Barricarte
  • Jose Maria Huerta
  • Jian'an Luan
  • Nick Wareham
  • Timothy J. Key
  • Elisabeth A. Spencer
  • Philippos Orfanos
  • Androniki Naska
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
  • Domenico Palli
  • Claudia Agnoli
  • Amalia Mattiello
  • Rosario Tumino
  • Paolo Vineis
  • H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita
  • Frederike L. Buechner
  • Ingegerd Johansson
  • Veronica Hellstrom
  • Eiliv Lund
  • Toni Braaten
  • Dagrun Engeset
  • Andreani Odysseos
  • Elio Riboli
  • Petra H. M. Peeters
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)912-921
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Publication categoryResearch