Public Health Nutrition


Western and Mediterranean dietary patterns among Balearic Islands’ adolescents: socio-economic and lifestyle determinants

Maria del Mar Bibilonia1, Elisa Martíneza1, Rosa Llulla1, Antoni Ponsa1 and Josep A Tura1 c1

a1 Research Group on Community Nutrition and Oxidative Stress, University of Balearic Islands, Guillem Colom Bldg, Campus, E-07122 Palma de Mallorca, Spain


Objective To assess prevailing food patterns among Balearic Islands’ adolescents, and socio-economic and lifestyle determinants.

Design Cross-sectional nutritional survey carried out (2007–2008) in the Balearic Islands, a Mediterranean region. Dietary assessment was based on a 145-item semi-quantitative FFQ and two non-consecutive 24 h recalls. Anthropometric measurements and questions related to socio-economic, lifestyle, physical activity and body image were assessed.

Setting Data obtained from a representative sample of all inhabitants living in the Balearic Islands aged 12–17 years.

Subjects A random sample (n 1231) of the adolescent population (12–17 years old) was interviewed.

Results Factor analysis identified two major dietary food patterns: ‘Western’ and ‘Mediterranean’. The ‘Western’ dietary pattern was higher among boys than girls, associated with spending ≥4 h/d on media screen time, but less prevalent among those adolescents who desired a thinner body and those girls who desired to remain the same weight. The ‘Mediterranean’ dietary pattern was mainly followed by girls, and also boys who spent < 2 h/d on media screen time and girls with high parental socio-economic status.

Conclusions The present study shows the existence of two major dietary patterns among Balearic Islands’ adolescents: ‘Western’ and ‘Mediterranean’, but girls are more ‘Mediterranean’ than boys. This evidence supports that the food pattern of Balearic Islands’ adolescents is in a transitional state characterised by the loss of the traditional Mediterranean dietary pattern towards a Western dietary pattern. Low parental socio-economic status, much leisure-time on sedentary behaviours such as media screen time and body image are factors associated with the ‘Western’ dietary pattern.

(Received April 14 2011)

(Accepted July 21 2011)

(Online publication September 08 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: Email