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Nutrition Transition in the Post-Economic Crisis of Greece: Assessing the Nutritional Gap of Food-Insecure Individuals. A Cross-Sectional Study

Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Agricultural University of Athens, Iera Odos 75, 11855 Athens, Greece
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Nutrients 2019, 11(12), 2914; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11122914
Received: 25 September 2019 / Revised: 18 November 2019 / Accepted: 21 November 2019 / Published: 2 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Double Burden of Malnutrition)
Food insecurity has risen by 40% in Europe’s post-economic crisis, linked to the economic turmoil and austerity. Despite the intensification of efforts to fight all forms of poverty, including the implementation of programs targeted to the most deprived, the study of individuals at risk of food insecurity has been largely neglected. This study aimed to map the nutritional habits and needs of the most deprived in Greece, one of the countries most affected by the economic crisis. Individuals classified as most deprived under the Fund for the European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) criteria (n = 499) from across Greece and an age matched control from the general population (n = 500) were interviewed between December 2017 and December 2019. Participants provided information about demographic characteristics, and self-reported anthropometric measures and nutritional intake of the past month via a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Protein and energy malnutrition were defined as daily intake <1.950 kcal and ≤0.75 g/kg body-weight accordingly. Protein and energy malnutrition were high among FEAD recipients (52.3% and 18.6% respectively, p < 0.001), alongside a high prevalence of overweight and obesity (BMI > 25: 68.4% versus 55.1%; p < 0.001). The diet of FEAD recipients included higher amounts of carbohydrates, lower amounts of monounsaturated fat (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fat (PUFA; p < 0.001 compared to control), larger amounts of plant-based proteins (5.81 ± 1.7 versus 4.94 ± 1.3% E respectively, p < 0.001) and very limited intake of fish (0.07 portions/day). Despite being enrolled in a food assistance program, protein and energy malnutrition is prevalent among Greece’s most deprived who experience not only lower diet quality but also the double burden of malnutrition. View Full-Text
Keywords: food security; malnutrition; food provision; nutritional status; FEAD food security; malnutrition; food provision; nutritional status; FEAD
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Chatzivagia, E.; Pepa, A.; Vlassopoulos, A.; Malisova, O.; Filippou, K.; Kapsokefalou, M. Nutrition Transition in the Post-Economic Crisis of Greece: Assessing the Nutritional Gap of Food-Insecure Individuals. A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients 2019, 11, 2914.

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