Association between the prevalence of obesity and adherence to the Mediterranean diet: the ATTICA study

Nutrition. 2006 May;22(5):449-56. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2005.11.004. Epub 2006 Feb 2.


Objective: We evaluated the prevalence of obesity in relation to adherence to a Mediterranean diet.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey that randomly enrolled 1514 men (18 to 87 y old) and 1528 women (18 to 89 y old) with no history of cardiovascular disease. Anthropometric indices were measured and frequency of various foods consumed during a usual week was recorded. Adherence to a Mediterranean diet was assessed by a diet score that incorporated the inherent characteristics of this diet.

Results: Prevalences of overweight and obesity were 53% and 20% in men and 31% and 15% in women. An inverse relation was observed between diet score, waist-to-hip ratio (r = -0.31, P < 0.001), and body mass index (r = -0.4, P < 0.001) after adjusting for sex and age. Greater adherence to the Mediterranean diet (i.e., highest tertile) was associated with a 51% lower odds of being obese (odds ratio 0.49, 95% confidence interval 0.42 to 0.56) and a 59% lower odds of having central obesity (odds ratio 0.41, 95% confidence 0.35 to 0.47) compared with a non-Mediterranean diet (i.e., lowest tertile) after controlling for age, sex, physical activity status, metabolism, and other variables.

Conclusion: We observed an inverse relation between adherence to a Mediterranean dietary pattern and prevalence of obesity in a free-eating, population-based sample of men and women, irrespective of various potential confounders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Anthropometry
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet Surveys
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils
  • Prevalence
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Waist-Hip Ratio


  • Olive Oil
  • Plant Oils