Public Health Nutrition


Health impact of Mediterranean diets in food at work

Federico Leightona1 c1, Gianna Polica1, Pablo Strobela1, Druso Péreza1, Carlos Martíneza1, Luis Vásqueza1, Oscar Castilloa1, Luis Villarroela2, Guadalupe Echeverríaa1, Inés Urquiagaa1, Diego Mezzanoa1 and Jaime Rozowskia1

a1 Center for Molecular Nutrition and Chronic Diseases, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile

a2 Public Health Department, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile


Objective To evaluate the feasibility of diet mediterranisation, in a food-at-work context, and its consequence on metabolic syndrome in a mid-age unselected healthy male population group.

Design One-year longitudinal intervention study. Physical exercise was not modified.

Setting All workers of the Santiago division of ‘Maestranza Diesel’, a metal-mechanic company servicing the mining industry, were invited to participate.

Subjects Initially, 145 workers of a total of 171, of average age 39 years, accepted to participate (sixteen women and 129 men). A subgroup of ninety-six men fully completed the controls programmed for the intervention study. Losses from the original group correspond to missing one control (sixteen), leaving the company (eleven) or blood sampling discomfort (six). The women and sixteen male workers, hired post study initiation, did participate but were excluded from this 12-month analysis.

Results Diet mediterranisation was successful, reflected in the daily food consumption at the canteen and the evolution of the Mediterranean diet score (MDS) from 4·8 ± 1·4 to 7·4 ± 1·5 (limits 0–14). Some metabolic syndrome components showed statistically significant improvement and also statistically significant correlation with the MDS: waist circumference, HDL-cholesterol, systolic and diastolic blood pressure. After 12 months, the reversion rate for metabolic syndrome was 48 % (12/23) with an incidence rate of 4·1 % for new cases (3/73). In total, metabolic syndrome decreased from 24·0 % to 15·6 % (23/96 to 15/96) (P = 0·029).

Conclusions Diet mediterranisation is feasible in a food-at-work intervention, affecting lunch consumption at the workers canteen and overall consumption evaluated with MDS, together with a significant reduction in metabolic syndrome.

(Received December 01 2008)

(Accepted April 01 2009)


c1 Corresponding author: Email