Is there a relationship between compliance to the Mediterranean Diet and body weight status in Scottish adults.
Introduction: In Scotland there are high levels of overweight and obesity and due to their association with noncommunicable disease such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and cancer along with an increased risk of premature mortality scientifically proven dietary strategies that could help reduce their prevalence in the population are of great importance. The Mediterranean dietary pattern has been associated with various health benefits including a reduced risk of weight gain and central adiposity in other countries however very little work has been carried out in Scotland. The aim of this study was to assess the relationship between Mediterranean diet adherence and body weight status in the adult Scottish population. Objectives included measuring Mediterranean diet adherence and evaluating its relationship with body composition measurements; body mass index, waist circumference and waist height ratio and body fat percentage. Also measuring physical activity levels and various lifestyle factors including alcohol consumption and average sleep patterns, age and gender and assessing their relationships and Mediterranean diet adherence. Method: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 69 adults. Dietary, lifestyle and physical activity assessment data was gathered using a self-reported questionnaire. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was evaluated using the validated 14-point Mediterranean Diet Screener. Body weight status was assessed by measuring height, weight and waist circumference and by calculating body mass index and waist height ratio. Body composition was measured using bioelectrical impedance analysis for bodyfat percentage. Physical activity levels were assessed using the international physical activity questionnaire short form. Results: The total number of participants was 69 of which 49.3% were male and the mean age was 34.7 years. 4 men and 15 women adhered to the Mediterranean diet whilst 30 men and 20 women were classified as non-adherers. A significant association was found between gender and adherence to the Mediterranean diet (p=0.004) with woman 5.6 times more likely to adhere to the Mediterranean diet than men. Within the male cohort there was a significant association with Mediterranean diet adherence and older age (p=0.048). A moderate positive correlation was found between physical activity levels and Mediterranean diet score in the total population (p=0.007) and in males (0.004) there was also a low inverse correlation between waist circumference and Mediterranean diet score (p=0.026). Conclusion: This study has found that several factors were associated or related to increased Mediterranean diet adherence. Few studies have been conducted in Scotland with regards the Mediterranean diet and although some trends with Mediterranean diet adherence and reduced body weight status were found further studies with much larger and more representative sample sizes giving more reliable results are needed to confirm any beneficial effects of a Mediterranean diet on body weight within the Scottish population. Key words: Mediterranean Diet, Physical Activity, Overweight and Obesity, Body Composition, Scottish Diet, Lifestyle Factors.