Food styles and the dynamics of the Mediterranean Adequacy Index

Language: EN
Jel classification: I10, Q13, Q18

Medical longitudinal surveys demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet is inversely connected with mortality due to Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). To evaluate this phenomenon, the Mediterranean Adequacy Index (MAI) was launched in 2004, calculated as the ratio of the energy derived from Mediterranean-style foods to the energy from foods that do not characterize Mediterranean eating. According to one of the most cited research works, carried out on 16 samples from seven countries worldwide, in two Italian cohorts (Crevalcore and Montegiorgio) mortality from CHD was reduced by 26% in 20 years and by 21% in 40 years of follow-up with an index growth of 1 logarithmic unit (Fidanza et al., 2004). Fifteen years after that publication, this study aims to assess, in the six countries surveyed (Finland, USA, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Japan and Croatia and Serbia, the former Yugoslavia), the MAI index dynamics extended universally, using the Food balance sheets data provided by FAO for the period 1961-2011. The objectives of this study are the following: a) determine the MAI trend over the past 50 years in order to check continuity or non-continuity of the Mediterranean nutritional style in the above countries; b) identify, using the latest data, the clusters of different countries which have similar eating habits and determine the convergence or divergence with respect to one prevailing style.; c) bring together, through the dual problem solution, the products that make up the predominant diet in the 28 EU member countries.

Mediterranean Adequacy Index, diet, food styles, cluster analysis, EU-28.

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