Public Health Nutrition

Research Article

Does the diet of the Balearic population, a Mediterranean-type diet, ensure compliance with nutritional objectives for the Spanish population?

Josep A Tura1 c1, Dora Romagueraa1 and Antoni Ponsa1

a1 Laboratory of Physical Activity Sciences, University of the Balearic Islands (UIB) and Research Group on Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress, Research Institute on Health Sciences (IUNICS), E-07122, Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Abstract

Objectives To assess the dietary habits of Balearic Islands' consumers who are successful in meeting current nutritional recommendations, to find clues for the development of future food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) that would be relevant to this population.

Design Cross-sectional nutritional survey carried out in the Balearic Islands between 1999 and 2000.

Subjects and methods Dietary habits were assessed by means of 24-hour recall (two non-consecutive days: warm and cold season) and a food-frequency questionnaire in a random sample (n = 1200, aged 16–65 years) living in private households. Differences in percentage of compliers with the intermediate nutritional objectives for the Spanish population and differences in food consumption patterns between genders and between high (above the upper quartile of intake) and low (below the lower quartile of intake) consumers of fat, saturated fatty acids (SFA), fibre, and fruit and vegetables were analysed.

Results Gender differences were observed in nutrient and energy intakes, as well as in attainment of the recommendations. Less than 25% of the population reached the intermediate nutritional recommendations for iodine, fruit, carbohydrates, SFA, fibre and vegetables. Low fat/SFA and high fruit and vegetables/fibre consumers kept a diet in line with the traditional Balearic diet and prevailing dietary pyramids, which ensured better compliance with the nutritional goals.

Conclusions The intermediate nutritional objectives for the Spanish population could be achieved through maintenance of the traditional Balearic diet, a Mediterranean-type diet in the Balearic population. Therefore, this dietary model could be used to develop FBDG relevant to this population.

(Received May 18 2004)

(Accepted October 25 2004)

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