The Medi-Lite project
The Medi-Lite project is inspired by the analysis of the numerous studies in the scientific literature that have demonstrated the beneficial role of the Mediterranean diet against chronic-degenerative diseases.
In recent decades, numerous studies have highlighted the beneficial role of the Mediterranean diet towards different pathologies and the state of health in general. In order to determine the degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet, clinical research of the nutritional type focused more on the study of individual foods or food groups, on the assessment of the dietary profile as a whole .
This has led to the development of indices that can numerically calculate a population’s adherence to the Mediterranean diet.
All these adhesity indices, however, have important limitations, especially in relation to the fact that they are not in fact usable at the individual level,but only as an epidemiological tool.
Among the many adherence scores the most used in the scientific literature is the index created by Prof. Trichopoulou and colleagues that is based on the daily and/or weekly consumption of certain foods defined a priori typical of theMediterranean diet. Other attempts have been made by other researchers to determine with a score the degree of adherence to the Mediterranean diet of a given population.
Hence the idea of developing a practical, simple and applicable tool at the individual level to assess adherence to the Mediterranean diet,using only the data present in the literature of daily and/or weekly consumption of groups typical food stuff and not of the Mediterranean diet.
To do this, the data present in the meta-analysis were used, that is, a scientific study that takes into account all the scientific studies present in the literature on a given topic, carried out by Professor Sofi and colleagues in 2014 and published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.
The absolutely innovative aspect was the possibility to measure and quantify the complex concept of adherence to the Mediterranean diet,linking it with health indicators.
How it was calculated
Starting from the studies present in the meta-analysis on the Mediterranean diet and the state of health published in 2014, the values chosen as a threshold to determine adherence to the Mediterranean diet were first extracted from each individual study.
Subsequently, the average food consumption of all the values obtained from the studies taken into account was calculated and the values obtained for the number of subjects included in each study were weighted.
Finally, for each food group considered in the questionnaire, the average value of all weighted medians with the addition of 2 standard deviations . The values identified by the 2 standard deviations have been rounded and chosen as threshold values to define three categories of consumption for each food group.
From this calculation it was possible to obtain daily and/or weekly consumption values for foods typical of the Mediterranean diet (fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes and fish) and for non-typical ones (meat and meat products, dairy products). For typical products, 2 points were awarded to the highest consumption category,1 point to the intermediate category and 0 points to the lowest category.
Conversely, for non-Mediterranean diet foods (meat and meat products, dairy products) 2 points were allocated to the lowest intake, 1 point to intermediate intake and 0 points to the intermediate intake and 0 points to higher consumption.
Foralcohol, the categories relating to the alcohol unit (1 alcohol unit plus 12 g of alcohol) were used, attributing 2 points to the average category (1-2 units of alcohol/die) of consumption, 1 point to the lowest category (1 alcohol unit /die) and 0 points to the highest consumption category (2>units of alcohol/die).
Finally, 2 points were awarded for regular use of olive oil,1 point for frequent use and 0 points for occasional use.
The final score, obtained from the sum of all these scores, will range from 0 (low adherence) to 18 (high adherence)
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