The Mediterranean diet was once held as one of the healthiest ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle, now things are changing in the region named after the diet. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a new report that shows that this diet is not being adhered to by the people who live in the region.
Children in the Mediterranean region are found to be the most obese children in Europe.
Obesity Rising In The Mediterranean
A report by the WHO European Childhood Obesity Surveillance Initiative found that children in the Mediterranean have the highest rates of obesity compared to other children in Europe. Children in Cyprus, Spain, Italy, and Greece were all found to have more than 40 percent of 9-year-olds to be overweight or obese.
The study found that in Greece, Italy, and Spain, 42 percent of boys are overweight or obese. For girls, 38 percent were found to be overweight or obese in Greece and Italy, and 41 percent in Spain.
While speaking at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna, Dr. Joao Breda, head of the WHO European office for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases, said that the Mediterranean diet is gone for children in these countries. He says that people in this region need to recover their healthy eating habits.
Breda said that children in this part of Europe are eating fewer fruits and vegetables and are instead consuming more sugary colas and other sweets. He says they're consuming too many snacks along with too much salt, sugar, and fat in their food. Breda also cites a lack of physical activity among these children.
The numbers for the latest report come from data collected between 2015 and 2017. Countries such as Germany and the UK were excluded from the report.
The Mediterranean diet has been found to be one of the healthiest diets in the world. Studies have shown that it can reverse metabolic syndrome, it has beneficial effects on various risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and could help prevent heart attacks in people who have already suffered from heart attacks.
It was also found to be more effective for weight loss and improve the symptoms of diabetes when compared to a low-fat diet.
Healthier European Countries
Children in France, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Sweden, and Latvia have the lowest rates of obesity among European countries. Children in Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan have lower levels but this may change soon. Those countries are undergoing a nutrition transition toward a more western diet.