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To examine the impact of a community culinary coaching programme (CCCP) on cafeteria food alignment with a freshly prepared Mediterranean-style diet, and diners’ consumption habits and satisfaction.
A non-randomized, controlled, community-based participatory research programme. CCCP included eight 90 min coaching sessions with a community steering committee, 22 h of kitchen staff training, 12 h of pre-school staff training and 30 h of education for diners; control communities received no intervention. Outcomes, measured before and 12 months after programme initiation, included cafeteria food alignment with a freshly prepared Mediterranean-style diet through a food items list derived from the cafeteria food purchasing software, and adult diners’ consumption habits and satisfaction through questionnaires.
Communal cafeterias of rural kibbutzim.
Intervention: kibbutz with 493 adults and 214 children. Control: Two kibbutzim with a total of 487 adults and 206 children.
Intervention cafeteria food improved significantly in all Mediterranean index categories except nuts (legumes, wholegrain products, fish, MUFA/SFA P < 0·0001; fruits, vegetables P < 0·001; processed meats P = 0·004), and in the proportion of ultra-processed and unprocessed or minimally processed foods categories of the NOVA classification (−22 %, P < 0·001 and +7 %, P < 0·001, respectively), compared with the control community. The intervention group’s satisfaction was significantly improved in twenty-five (83 %) out of the thirty satisfaction items, compared with twelve (40 %) in the control group. No changes were identified in diners’ consumption habits in either intervention or control communities.
CCCP might be useful in improving alignment of cafeteria food with a freshly prepared Mediterranean-style diet.
To investigate demographic and lifestyle factors associated with adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) in Israeli adolescents.
Schoolchildren (n 5268) aged 11–19 years answered self-administered questionnaires on food consumption, eating habits and lifestyle; a subset (n 578) also completed 24 h food recalls.
Using a modified KIDMED index, 25·5 % of the students had poor, 55·2 % had average and 19·3 % had good MD adherence. Jewish middle-school children had the highest proportion (28·2 %) of poor MD adherence. Olive oil usage, derived from 24 h food recalls, was 18·1 % in Jewish families v. 71·1 % in Arab homes. In Jewish boys, the odds (OR; 95 % CI) of having poor MD adherence was higher in those who watched television/videos/listened to music for ≥2 h/d (1·25; 0·98, 1·58) and those who sometimes/don’t read food labels (1·69; 1·31, 2·18). In Jewish girls, the odds for having poor MD adherence was significantly higher in those whose mother’s schooling was <12 years (2·06; 1·41, 3·00) and those who sometimes/don’t read food labels (1·35; 1·08, 1·69). In Arab boys, watching television/videos/listening to music for ≥2 h/d was significantly associated with poor MD adherence (1·89; 1·16, 3·07). In Arab girls, no aerobic activity or ball games weekly was associated with poor MD adherence (1·38; 0·91, 2·09).
Israeli adolescents had overall a high rate of poor MD adherence. Jewish middle-school children were at the highest risk. Interventions aimed at increasing physical activity, reducing sedentary time, improving mother’s education and promoting reading of food labels are recommended.
To position the concept of sustainability within the context of food security.
An overview of the interrelationships between food security and sustainability based on a non-systematic literature review and informed discussions based principally on a quasi-historical approach from meetings and reports.
International and global food security and nutrition.
The Rome Declaration on World Food Security in 1996 defined its three basic dimensions as: availability, accessibility and utilization, with a focus on nutritional well-being. It also stressed the importance of sustainable management of natural resources and the elimination of unsustainable patterns of food consumption and production. In 2009, at the World Summit on Food Security, the concept of stability/vulnerability was added as the short-term time indicator of the ability of food systems to withstand shocks, whether natural or man-made, as part of the Five Rome Principles for Sustainable Global Food Security. More recently, intergovernmental processes have emphasized the importance of sustainability to preserve the environment, natural resources and agro-ecosystems (and thus the overlying social system), as well as the importance of food security as part of sustainability and vice versa.
Sustainability should be considered as part of the long-term time dimension in the assessment of food security. From such a perspective the concept of sustainable diets can play a key role as a goal and a way of maintaining nutritional well-being and health, while ensuring the sustainability for future food security. Without integrating sustainability as an explicit (fifth?) dimension of food security, today’s policies and programmes could become the very cause of increased food insecurity in the future.
To present the Mediterranean diet (MD) pyramid: a lifestyle for today.
A new graphic representation has been conceived as a simplified main frame to be adapted to the different nutritional and socio-economic contexts of the Mediterranean region. This review gathers updated recommendations considering the lifestyle, dietary, sociocultural, environmental and health challenges that the current Mediterranean populations are facing.
Setting and Subjects
Mediterranean region and its populations.
Many innovations have arisen since previous graphical representations of the MD. First, the concept of composition of the ‘main meals’ is introduced to reinforce the plant-based core of the dietary pattern. Second, frugality and moderation is emphasised because of the major public health challenge of obesity. Third, qualitative cultural and lifestyle elements are taken into account, such as conviviality, culinary activities, physical activity and adequate rest, along with proportion and frequency recommendations of food consumption. These innovations are made without omitting other items associated with the production, selection, processing and consumption of foods, such as seasonality, biodiversity, and traditional, local and eco-friendly products.
Adopting a healthy lifestyle and preserving cultural elements should be considered in order to acquire all the benefits from the MD and preserve this cultural heritage. Considering the acknowledgment of the MD as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (2010), and taking into account its contribution to health and general well-being, we hope to contribute to a much better adherence to this healthy dietary pattern and its way of life with this new graphic representation.
To place the Mediterranean diet (MedDi) in the context of the cultural history of the Middle East and emphasise the health effects of some of the biblical seven species – wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and date honey.
Review of the literature concerning the benefits of these foods.
Middle East and Mediterranean Basin.
Mediterranean populations and clinical studies utilising the MedDi.
Results and conclusions
The MedDi has been associated with lower rates of CVD, and epidemiological evidence promotes the benefits of consuming fruit and vegetables. Recommended foods for optimal health include whole grain, fish, wine, pomegranates, figs, walnuts and extra virgin olive oil. The biblical traditional diet, including the seven species and additional Mediterranean fruits, has great health advantages, especially for CVD. In addition to the diet, lifestyle adaptation that involves increasing physical activity and organised meals, together with healthy food choices, is consistent with the traditional MedDi. The MedDi is a manageable, lifestyle-friendly diet that, when fortified with its biblical antecedent attributes, may prove to be even more enjoyable and considerably healthier in combating the obesogenic environment and in decreasing the risks of the non-communicable diseases of modern life than conventional, modern dietary recommendations. The biblical seven species, together with other indigenous foods from the Middle East, are now scientifically recognised as healthy foods, and further improve the many beneficial effects of the MedDi.
To describe the relationships between physical activity, lifestyle determinants and obesity in adolescent Israeli schoolchildren.
Design and setting
The MABAT Youth Survey was a nationally representative, school-based study of youth in grades 7 to 12 (ages 11–19 years).
Self-administered questionnaires assessed health behaviours and anthropometric indices were measured. Logistic regression analysis was used to examine the associations between obesity, physical activity, socio-economic status and other lifestyle habits. One-way ANOVA was used to determine mean physical activity levels (MET values) by BMI categories.
The prevalence of overweight was 13–15 % and of obesity 4–9 % depending on gender and ethnicity, and was higher among the non-Jewish sectors. Thirty-six per cent and 57 % of Jewish girls and boys, and 40 % and 58 % of non-Jewish girls and boys, respectively, were optimally active. Boys from low socio-economic schools and those who slept for less than 6 h at night were less active. Girls from middle school were found to be 53 % more optimally physically active among Jews, and 89 % more among non-Jews, compared with girls from high school (P = 0·001); girls with less educated parents were also less physically active. No clear relationship was found between the level of obesity and physical activity.
Physical inactivity was strongly related to gender, age, social status, sleeping habits, hookah smoking, and parental educational status. Education and intervention programmes should focus on these risk factors.
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