A novel Mediterranean diet index from Lebanon: comparison with Europe
Purpose To propose an index for assessing adherence to a Middle Eastern version of the Mediterranean diet as represented by the Traditional Lebanese Mediterranean diet (LMD), to evaluate the association between the LMD and selected European Mediterranean diets (EMD), and to examine socio-demographic and lifestyle correlates of adherence to Mediterranean diet (MD) among Lebanese adults. Methods Using nationally representative dietary intake data of Lebanese adults, an index to measure Adherence to the LMD was derived. The choice of foods/food groups used for calculating the LMD score was based on results of previous factor analyses conducted on the same dataset. These foods/food groups included fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, burghol, dairy products, starchy vegetables, dried fruits and eggs. Using Pearson’s correlation and scores tertiles distributions agreement, the derived LMD index was compared to previously published EMD indexes from Greece, Spain, Italy, France and EPIC/Europe. Results Fruits, vegetables and olive oil were common denominators to most MD scores. Food groups, specific to the LMD, included burghol, dried fruits, and eggs. The LMD score significantly correlated with the EMD scores, while being closest to the Italian (r = 0.56) and farthest from the French (r = 0.21). Percent agreement between scores’ tertile distributions and Kappa statistics confirmed these findings. Multivariate linear regressions showed that older age and higher educational levels were associated with increased adherence to all MDs studied. Conclusion A novel LMD index was proposed to assess adherence to a Middle Eastern version of MD, complementing international efforts to characterize the MD and its association with disease risk. Keywords: Mediterranean diet, Adherence, Middle East, Lebanon, Europe
European journal of nutrition,Eur J Nutr. 2015; 54(8): 1229–1243.