The relationship between compliance to the Mediterranean diet and body weight status in Scottish adults.
Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet is linked to reduced weight gain and central adiposity in studies of Mediterranean cohorts but no studies have examined the effects of adherence to the Mediterranean diet in Scotland. Therefore, the aim of this study was to observe the relationship between adherence and body weight status in Scottish adults living in Edinburgh. Adherence is defined by the consumption of olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables, legumes, nuts, moderate-tohigh consumption of fish, whole-grain cereals and wine in addition to a reduced consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, red and processed meats, butter, margarine, cream, sweets, biscuits and cakes. Cross-sectional assessment of 69 healthy participants aged 19-68 years (51% women) and Mediterranean diet adherence was evaluated using a validated 14- point Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener, defining adherence as a score of nine or above. Additional lifestyle questions on smoking and alcohol consumption were also assessed. Physical activity was estimated using a validated seven-day assessment questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements of height, weight and waist circumference were taken to calculate body mass index and waist to height ratio. Percentage body fat was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis. Adherence was higher among women and men aged 38.0 and 48.7 years respectively and adherence was significantly higher for women than men (p<0.004). A trend in moderate to high physical activity, moderate alcohol and nonsmoking was associated with Mediterranean diet adherence in both men and women. Anthropometric measurements revealed a trend in reduced waist circumference, waist to height ratio, body max index and body fat in men but not in women. A significantly moderate inverse correlation (rS = - 0.487, p<0.035) between increasing Mediterranean diet score and lower body mass index was found when both women and men were analysed together. In conclusion, opposing observed trends between Mediterranean diet adherence and body weight status between men and women were found, justifying future intervention studies to fully explore the potential long-term efficacy of a Mediterranean-style diet on body weight status in the adult Scottish population. Keywords: Mediterranean diet adherence; body weight status; body composition; lifestyle; physical activity