Effectiveness of an Intervention Programme on Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet in a Preschool Child: A Randomised Controlled Trial

Nutrients. 2022 Apr 7;14(8):1536. doi: 10.3390/nu14081536.


Background: The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the dietary patterns with the most accumulated scientific evidence on health benefits. In children, it has positive effects in the prevention of obesity and cardiovascular diseases, as well as in the prevention of diabetes. We aimed to evaluate the medium-term efficacy of an intervention programme, targeting adherence to the Mediterranean diet among preschool children.

Methods: In a randomised, parallel trial of participants aged 3-5 years, a school garden was attended in the experimental group, and in the control group, the usual content on the human body and health were taught. Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was assessed using the KIDMED questionnaire, controlling for weight, height, body mass index (BMI) and socio-demographic variables.

Results: A reduction in BMI was found in the experimental group after one year and at the end of the follow-up period. In the overall score obtained in the KIDMED survey, a statistical trend was found between the two groups (p = 0.076). In multivariate analysis, consumption of pulses more than once a week' was predictive of improved diet quality, with an Odds Ratio (OR) in the experimental group of 1.382 (95% CI 1.126-1.695; p = 0.009).

Conclusions: The experimental approach improved the quality of the participants' diet, increasing adherence to the Mediterranean diet due to increased consumption of plant-based protein.

Keywords: Mediterranean; child; child overnutrition; diet; health child service; pre-school; primary prevention.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cardiovascular Diseases* / prevention & control
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Humans
  • Obesity