a1 Groupe d'Epidémiologie Métabolique, INSERM-CRLC, 34298 Montpellier Cedex 5, France
Objective A Mediterranean diet quality index (MDQI) was devised to give an overall assessment of dietary habits and to identify groups at risk.
Design The MDQI was based on scores given for selected levels of consumption of selected nutrients and foods.
Setting Mediterranean southern France.
Subjects The sample included 473 men and 491 women in three age classes recruited at random.
Results Only 9.5% of men, 9.0% of women, 4.7% of 20–34 year old subjects, 6.6% of 35–54 year old subjects and 14.0% of 55–76 year old subjects were shown to have a healthy diet. However, 10.1% of men, 8.6% of women, 19.4% of 20–34 year old subjects, 10.2% of 35–54 year old subjects and 4.6% of 55–76 year old subjects were shown to have a poor diet. There were significantly fewer smokers among subjects with a good diet but the distribution of moderate wine drinkers was comparable between those with a good diet and those with a poor diet. Correspondence analysis associated a healthy diet with 55–76 year old men and women living in rural areas, who had received primary schooling only and who were manual workers. Both men and women with a poor MDQI score tended to be young and smokers. In addition, women with a poor MDQI tended to be heavy drinkers and obese.
Conclusions This study showed that the Mediterranean model, which is generally recognized as a healthy diet, appears restricted to older people and to rural areas, whereas urbanized young people depart from it. A nutritional prevention policy targeted at young adults is required to encourage them to adhere to the Mediterranean model. Smoking and drinking showed different distribution patterns in the sample under study.
(Received January 17 2000)
(Accepted July 07 2000)