Determinants of Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet in Spanish Children and Adolescents: The PASOS Study

Nutrients. 2022 Feb 9;14(4):738. doi: 10.3390/nu14040738.


A progressive shift away from traditional healthy dietary patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet), has been observed in recent decades. The aim of this study was to assess determinants of optimal adherence to the MedDiet in Spanish children and adolescents. A cross-sectional analysis was included in the PASOS nationwide representative study in Spain. Participants were 3607 children and adolescents; 8-16 years old. Primary and secondary outcome measures of weight and height were measured. Adherence to the MedDiet, physical activity, and sedentary behavior in children and adolescents, as well as parental physical activity and dietary habits, were assessed. Optimal adherence to the MedDiet was observed in 45.5% of primary school students and 34.8% of secondary school students (OR: 0.65; 95%CI: 0.56-0.75). Optimal adherence to the MedDiet was higher in children/adolescents meeting daily recommended moderate and vigorous physical activity (OR: 2.39, 95%CI: 1.97-2.89) and in those meeting daily recommended screen time on weekdays (OR: 2.05, 95%CI: 1.77-2.38) and weekends (OR: 1.76, 95%CI: 1.48-2.10). Participants with optimal adherence to the MedDiet were more likely to have mothers with a high-level education and high-tercile of SDQS, mothers who never smoked or were former smokers, and mothers who met the recommended physical activity and screen time. It can be concluded that a low prevalence of optimal adherence to the MedDiet was found among current Spanish children and adolescents. Optimal adherence to the MedDiet was associated with reaching the recommendations on physical activity and screen time, with the highest maternal educational level, and healthier maternal lifestyles.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; PASOS; adolescents; children; lifestyle.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Exercise
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Screen Time
  • Spain / epidemiology