Compliance with the European and national nutritional objectives in a Mediterranean population.Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007 Dec; 61(12):1345-51.EJ
To analyze compliance with the current European and Spanish nutritional objectives in a representative sample from Catalonia, a Spanish Mediterranean region; and to examine relationships between diet and plasma fatty acid composition.
Cross-sectional nutritional survey.
Population based random sample derived from the Catalan Nutrition Survey.
A total of 516 healthy adult men (n=203) and women (n=313).
Dietary habits were assessed by means of a quantitative food frequency questionnaire. A physical exam included height, weight, waist and hip circumferences, and a fasting blood draw.
Gender differences were observed in nutrient and energy intakes. Women showed a better compliance with the nutritional recommendations for monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) than did men. Men showed a better compliance for saturated fatty acid (SFA) and carbohydrate than did women. However, the SFA:MUFA:PUFA ratio was similar in both gender (1.6:2.3:1.0 for men; 1.7:2.5:1.0 for women). The highest compliance was observed for nutritional goals of sodium, calcium and fruit and vegetable intakes for both genders. In addition, the present study showed that levels of certain fatty acids in plasma are clearly associated with dietary intake of foods rich in these components. The highest correlations were found for n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids with blue fish intake in both men and women (r (men)=0.36 and r (women)=0.42; P<0.001).
The diet followed in Catalonia seems to ensure compliance with most of the intermediate nutritional objectives for the Spanish population. However, a reduction in the SFA intake and an increase in the carbohydrate intake could be recommended in order to reduce the current prevalence of overweight and obesity in this Mediterranean region.
This study was supported by the Catalan Department of Health, the Nutrition Catalan Centre of the Institute of Catalan Studies, and Mercadona SA.