MEDITERRANEAN DIET: BEST FOR CHILDREN?
Children consuming a Mediterranean diet are 15% less likely to be obese, according to one study. The latter states that ” children consuming a diet more in line with the Mediterranean diet rules would be less likely to be overweight or obese than other children “. 
A study in eight European countries was presented in 2014 at the European Congress on Obesity (ECO) in Sofia, Bulgaria. It shows that children who consume a diet in the line of the Mediterranean diet are fifteen percent less likely to be overweight or obese. The research was led by Dr. Gianluca Tognon of the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and colleagues from 8 countries: Sweden, Germany, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Belgium, Estonia, and Hungary.
The researchers used data from the IDEFICS study , funded by the European Commission. Weight, height, waist, and fat percentage were measured in children in these eight countries.
VEGETABLES, FRUITS, NUTS AND FISH
The parents of these children were interviewed by means of a questionnaire specifically designed for the IDEFICS study and questioned on the frequency of consumption of 43 foods. Other nutritional data were supplemented by a telephone interview conducted on a subsample of parents.
Adherence to a Mediterranean diet was assessed by a score calculation, giving a point for high intakes of each food group that was considered typical of the Mediterranean diet (vegetables, fruits and nuts, fish and cereals); as well as a starting point for low intakes of atypical foods from the Mediterranean diet (such as dairy products and meat products).
SWEDISH CHILDREN ARE THE MOST MEDITERRANEAN!
Interestingly in this study, the prevalence of hypertension in the Mediterranean diet was considered to be independent of geographical distribution: Swedish children have the highest rating, followed by Italians and children of Cyprus.
The team found that children with strong adherence to a Mediterranean type diet were 15% less likely to be overweight or obese than children with low adhesion. The results were independent of age, sex, socio-economic status or country of residence.
Children with strong initial adhesion were 10-15% less likely to be among those who experienced a significant increase in body mass index (BMI), waist circumference and fat in the body.
The researchers explain that the promotion of a Mediterranean diet is no longer a feature of the Mediterranean countries. Given its potential beneficial effects on the prevention of obesity, this diet should be part of the obesity prevention strategies of the European Union. They conclude by insisting: “Its promotion must be particularly accentuated in countries with low levels of adhesion detected”.