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We conducted a study to describe food profile, health status and stroke risk factors in the population of the Aeolian Islands.
Self-administrated questionnaires regarding eating habits, health status and stroke risk factors were obtained from a sample of the general Aeolian population. We analysed the difference from common healthy eating habits indicated by the Italian Institute of Nutrition.
Current evidence finds the Mediterranean diet is a protective factor for cardio- and cerebrovascular diseases. The Aeolian Islands are an interesting study setting because of their peculiarity in the epidemiology of cerebrovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
Individuals (n 586; age range 15–93 years; mean 52 (sd 18) years) living in the Aeolian Islands.
We found low fish consumption in 13·3% and vitamin intake deficiency in 5·8% of participants. A marked excess of saturated fats was observed in 71·0% of participants. Sodium excess was reported almost in half of participants (49·0%). Eating habits were characterized by high consumption of fruits and vegetables, consistent use of olive oil and scanty use of cured meat. Health status as evaluated by the General Health Questionnaire was characterized by ‘normal distress’ level in the majority of participants.
Study findings show the eating habits and health status of the Aeolian people in an interesting setting of low incidence of cerebrovascular disease. This nutrition regimen has been proved to be protective against cerebrovascular disease. Nutrition is likely to contribute to the low incidence of stroke in this population.
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