Are Current Dietary Habits in Mediterranean Islands a Reflection of the Past? Results from the MEDIS Study

Eleni Tourlouki, Antonia Leda Matalas, Vassiliki Bountziouka, Stefanos Tyrovolas, Akis Zeimbekis, Efthimios Gotsis, Ioanna Tsiligianni, Ioanna Protopapa, Constantinos Protopapas, George Metallinos, Christos Lionis, Suzanne Piscopo, Evangelos Polychronopoulos, Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In the 1960s, the recorded dietary pattern of Southern European populations was typical of the traditional Mediterranean diet. However, diets have been rapidly changing. The aim of the current work was to examine the extent by which present food habits of inhabitants residing in various Mediterranean islands uphold past dietary traditions of the Mediterranean diet. A population-based, multi-stage sampling method was used to voluntarily enroll 876 men and 936 women (aged > 65 years) from 12 Mediterranean islands. Demographic, behavioral, clinical, and dietary data were collected. Principal component analysis derived fruits, vegetables, and greens as part of the main dietary pattern across most Mediterranean regions. Surprisingly, Crete had the highest frequency of fast-food and sweets consumption. Malta had the lowest frequency of fish and vegetable consumption and the lowest MedDietScore. As Mediterranean populations gradually move away from traditional dietary patterns, public-health efforts to preserve these diets are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-386
Number of pages16
JournalEcology of Food and Nutrition
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • diet
  • elderly
  • Mediterranean

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Ecology


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