Dissimilar Impact of a Mediterranean Diet and Physical Activity on Anthropometric Indices: A Cross-Sectional Study from the ILERVAS Project

Nutrients. 2019 Jun 17;11(6):1359. doi: 10.3390/nu11061359.


There is a close relationship between lifestyle behaviors and excess adiposity. Although body mass index (BMI) is the most used approach to estimate excess weight, other anthropometric indices have been developed to measure total body and abdominal adiposity. However, little is known about the impact of physical activity and adherence to a Mediterranean diet on these indices. Here we report the results of a cross-sectional study with 6672 middle-aged subjects with low to moderate cardiovascular risk from the Ilerda Vascular (ILERVAS) project. The participants' adherence to physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire short form) and MedDiet (Mediterranean Diet Adherence Screener) was evaluated. Measures of total adiposity (BMI, Clínica Universidad de Navarra-Body Adiposity Estimator (CUN-BAE), and Deurenberg's formula), central adiposity (waist and neck circumferences, conicity index, waist to height ratio, Bonora's equation, A body adiposity index, and body roundness index), and lean body mass (Hume formula) were assessed. Irrespective of sex, lower indices of physical activity were associated with higher values of total body fat and central adiposity. This result was constant regardless of the indices used to estimate adiposity. However, the association between MedDiet and obesity indices was much less marked and more dependent on sex than that observed for physical activity. Lean body mass was influenced by neither physical activity nor MedDiet adherence. No joint effect between physical activity and MedDiet to lower estimated total or central adiposity indices was shown. In conclusion, physical activity is related to lower obesity indices in a large cohort of middle-aged subjects. MedDiet showed a slight impact on estimated anthropometric indices, with no joint effect when considering both lifestyle variables. ClinTrials.gov Identifier: NCT03228459.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; adiposity; body fat; obesity indices; physical activity; questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Anthropometry*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Mediterranean / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Status Indicators*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / therapy
  • Obesity, Abdominal / physiopathology
  • Obesity, Abdominal / therapy

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03228459