Adherence to the Mediterranean diet in Italian school children (The ZOOM8 Study)

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2014 Aug;65(5):621-8. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2013.873887. Epub 2014 Feb 17.


The adherence to the Mediterranean diet (MD) of 1740 Italian 8-9-year-olds was evaluated using the KIDMED index and a descriptive analysis of it by socio-demographic and lifestyle factors was performed. Only 5.0% of the children resulted "high" adherers of MD (62.2% "average" and 32.8% "poor"). This scarce adherence was due to a low consumption of fruit, vegetables, legumes, dairy products and a high intake of commercially baked goods for breakfast and sweets. Hindrances to fruit, vegetables and pulses consumption were reported for one-third of the sample. The adherence rates did not differ significantly with BMI and gender. Adherence improved with: having lunch at school; liking lunch at school; breakfast with family; no free access to food; availability of fruit and pulses; liking vegetables; higher maternal education; lower child screen time; population size of place of residence. The results show it is important to improve family food habits and dietary knowledge.

Keywords: Adherence; Italy; KIDMED; Mediterranean diet; children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Breakfast
  • Child
  • Dairy Products
  • Diet
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Fabaceae
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Motor Activity
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Patient Compliance*
  • Public Health
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vegetables
  • Waist Circumference