Mediterranean dietary patterns and prospective weight change in participants of the EPIC-PANACEA project

Dora Romaguera, Teresa Norat, Anne-Claire Vergnaud, Traci Mouw, Anne M. May, Antonio Agudo, Genevieve Buckland, Nadia Slimani, Sabina Rinaldi, Elisabeth Couto, Francoise Clavel-Chapelon, Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault, Vanessa Cottet, Sabine Rohrmann, Birgit Teucher, Manuela Bergmann, Heiner Boeing, Anne Tjonneland, Jytte Halkjaer, Marianne Uhre JakobsenChristina C. Dahm, Noemie Travier, Laudina Rodriguez, Maria Jose Sanchez, Pilar Amiano, Aurelio Barricarte, Jose Maria Huerta, Jian'an Luan, Nick Wareham, Timothy J. Key, Elisabeth A. Spencer, Philippos Orfanos, Androniki Naska, Antonia Trichopoulou, Domenico Palli, Claudia Agnoli, Amalia Mattiello, Rosario Tumino, Paolo Vineis, H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Frederike L. Buechner, Jonas Manjer, Elisabet Wirfalt, Ingegerd Johansson, Veronica Hellstrom, Eiliv Lund, Toni Braaten, Dagrun Engeset, Andreani Odysseos, Elio Riboli, Petra H. M. Peeters

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Background: There is an association between a greater adherence to a Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. However, it is not clear whether this dietary pattern may be protective also against the development of obesity. Objective: We assessed the association between the adherence to the Mediterranean dietary pattern (MDP), prospective weight change, and the incidence of overweight or obesity. Design: We conducted a prospective cohort study [the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Physical Activity, Nutrition, Alcohol Consumption, Cessation of Smoking, Eating Out of Home, and Obesity (EPIC-PANACEA) project] in 373,803 individuals (103,455 men and 270,348 women; age range: 25-70 y) from 10 European countries. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at recruitment and after a median follow-up time of 5 y. The relative Mediterranean Diet Score (rMED; score range: 0-18) was used to assess adherence to the MDP according to the consumption of 9 dietary components that are characteristic of the Mediterranean diet. The association between the rMED and 5-y weight change was modeled through multiadjusted mixed-effects linear regression. Results: Individuals with a high adherence to the MDP according to the rMED (11-18 points) showed a 5-y weight change of 0.16 kg (95% CI: 0.24, 0.07 kg) and were 10% (95% CI: 4%, 18%) less likely to develop overweight or obesity than were individuals with a low adherence to the MDP (0-6 points). The low meat content of the Mediterranean diet seemed to account for most of its positive effect against weight gain. Conclusion: This study shows that promoting the MDP as a model of healthy eating may help to prevent weight gain and the development of obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)912-921
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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