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Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet among School Children and Adolescents Living in Northern Italy and Unhealthy Food Behaviors Associated to Overweight

1
SCDU of Pediatrics, Department of Health Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, 28100 Novara, Italy
2
SCDO of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics, Maggiore della Carità Hospital, 28100 Novara, Italy
3
Interdisciplinary Research Center of Autoimmune Diseases, University of Piemonte Orientale, 28100 Novara, Italy
4
Endocrinology, Department of Translational Medicine, University of Piemonte Orientale, 28100 Novara, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2018, 10(9), 1322; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10091322
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 12 September 2018 / Published: 18 September 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Benefits of Mediterranean Diet)
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Abstract

The purposes of this study were to evaluate the differences in Mediterranean diet and its components among primary and secondary school children and adolescents living in northern Italy, and the associations with the weight status. Adherence was assessed by the KIDMED (Mediterranean Diet Quality Index) questionnaire on 669 subjects (6–16 years) attending five schools of Novara. The adherence was poor in 16.7%, average in 63.7%, and high in 19.6% of the students. Poor adherence was more frequent in primary than in secondary schools (20.7% vs. 13.7%, p < 0.04). Some unhealthy behaviors were more prevalent in younger children. Children of other ethnic origins had a mixed behavior, choosing both traditional healthy and unhealthy foods. Besides male gender and primary school, in Italian children, the risk of overweight was directly associated with eating at fast-food restaurants (OR: 1.890, CI 95% 1.002–3.563), and inversely with consumption of vegetables more than once a day (OR: 0.588, CI 95% 0.349–0.991), and olive oil at home (OR: 0.382, CI 95% 0.176–0.826). In children of other ethnic origins, this risk was associated with skipping breakfast (OR: 16.046, CI 95% 1.933–133.266), or consuming commercial baked good or pastries for breakfast (OR: 10.255, CI 95% 1.052–99.927). The overall KIDMED score correlated with height (β: 0.108; p < 0.005). Poor food quality is replacing the Mediterranean dietary pattern in children and adolescents, in particular among younger children. Because the risk of overweight was associated with different components of the Mediterranean diet depending on ethnic origins, tailored nutritional programs remain a need. View Full-Text
Keywords: Mediterranean diet; questionnaire; children; adolescents; obesity Mediterranean diet; questionnaire; children; adolescents; obesity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Archero, F.; Ricotti, R.; Solito, A.; Carrera, D.; Civello, F.; Di Bella, R.; Bellone, S.; Prodam, F. Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet among School Children and Adolescents Living in Northern Italy and Unhealthy Food Behaviors Associated to Overweight. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1322.

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