The impact of a short intervention on adherence to the Mediterranean diet and body composition and lifestyle factors in a Scottish University Population.
(2017) The impact of a short intervention on adherence to the Mediterranean diet and body composition and lifestyle factors in a Scottish University Population., no. 44.
Introduction: The Scottish diet is contributing to obesity rates and subsequently cardiovascular disease. High in sugar and saturated fat and low in fruit and vegetables the diet lacks beneficial components. Current evidence supports the Mediterranean dietary pattern as a way of preventing cardiovascular disease and is supported by NICE 2016. Rich in polyphenols, antioxidants the Mediterranean diet has many components beneficial to heart health. Studies have shown that the diet can have a positive impact on weight, BMI, waist circumference and blood pressure. Many studies have looked at secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease and very few have looked primary prevention in university students. The few studies that have looked at university students are conducted in Mediterranean countries (Gracia-Meseguer et al. 2014; Pationo-Alonso et al. 2014). Aims and Objectives: The study aimed to determine the impact of a short term dietary intervention on adherence to the Mediterranean diet, body composition and other lifestyle factors in the Scottish university population. In addition the study determined if an association exists between the Mediterranean diet and body composition and lifestyle factors. Methodology: This study was a prospective study. The study took place at Queen Margaret University. Anthropometric measurements include weight, height, waist circumference and blood pressure were measured using a standardised procedure (WHO STEPS 2008). Body Mass Index was calculated (WHO 2016a). Participants had their adherence to the Mediterranean diet assessed via the 14-point Mediterranean diet score (Trichopoulou et al. 2003 cited in Martinez-Gonzalez et al. 2012). Physical activity and sedentary behaviour was measured using the long version of the International Physical Activity questionnaire (International Physical Activity Questionnaire Team 2002). A 2 week intervention was given to all participants in the form of a leaflet based on the Mediterranean diet from NICE 2016 and British Heart Foundation 2012 recommendations. Statistical analysis was completed using SPSS version 21. A p value ≤0.05 was considered significant. Descriptive statistics were calculated for parametric (Mean and Standard Deviation) and non parametric (Median and Interquartiles) to describe the data. The paired t-test was used to assess any differences from before and after the intervention. The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test was used for the Mediterranean diet score and physical activity. The Spearman's rho correlation was used to assess association between Mediterranean diet score and body composition and lifestyle factors. Results: Of the 11 total participants to complete the study, 8 were Female (72.7%) and 3 were Male (23.3%). The paired t-test showed a significant difference between before and after intervention weight and body mass index (P value= 0.007, P value= 0.032). The Wilcoxon Signed Rank test demonstrated that Mediterranean diet had significantly (P value= 0.017) improved following the intervention. A Spearman's rho correlation found a significant association between Mediterranean diet score and diastolic blood pressure (R value= -730,P value= 0.011). Discussion: The only significant association was between Mediterranean diet score and Diastolic blood pressure. The study enhances current research that the Mediterranean diet affects body composition and lifestyle factors. In future a longer intervention would be required to see the true effects of the intervention on Mediterranean diet score, body composition and lifestyle factors. Key words: Body Mass Index, Cardiovascular Disease, Mediterranean Diet, International Physical Activity Questionnaire, Scottish Diet, Students