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      Gender, Age, Geographical Area, Food Neophobia and Their Relationships with the Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet: New Insights from a Large Population Cross-Sectional Study

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          Abstract

          The Mediterranean diet (MD) is associated with many health benefits. The association between the MD and food neophobia (FN) is still unexplored in adults. The present cross-sectional study was aimed to explore the relationships between adherence to the MD, FN, and sociodemographic variables in a large Italian cohort. Familiarity and frequency use (FFI) of prototypical and non-prototypical Mediterranean foods were used to calculate a new adherence index: the Italian Taste Mediterranean Index (ITMI). The FFI of all Mediterranean foods increased with age, while butter, soft drinks, red/cured meat, and sweets were more common in younger people. Accordingly, ITMI increased with age (F 2,2384 = 54.11; p < 0.0001). Women recorded a higher ITMI (6.70) than men (6.10). Individuals with high FN showed higher FFI for soft drinks and sweets and lower ones for most typical MD foods, than individuals with low FNs. A decrease of ITMI was recorded with the increase of the FN(F 2,2384 = 22.84; p < 0.0001). With ageing, ITMI increased even in individuals with a high FN. The results suggest that FN may negatively affect adherence to the MD, lowering its potential health benefits, in the adult population. Monitoring of food habits, dietary education, and anxiety management, may be valuable tools to control FN and support the adherence to the MD.

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          Most cited references 43

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          THE DIET AND 15-YEAR DEATH RATE IN THE SEVEN COUNTRIES STUDY

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            Quantification of consumer attitudes to health and hedonic characteristics of foods.

            Health and Taste Attitudes Questionnaires were developed to assess consumers' orientations toward the health and hedonic characteristics of foods. Items were generated in a qualitative study. The original 37 items on health and 44 on taste were rated from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree" by a representative sample of 1005 Finnish adults (18-81 years). The number of items was reduced using factor and item analysis, resulting in 20 health- and 18 taste-related statements. Three health-related and three taste-related factors were extracted. The health-related factors were labelled as "General health interest", "Light product interest", and "Natural product interest". The taste-related factors were named "Craving for sweet foods", "Using food as a reward", and "Pleasure". Cronbach's alphas of the multi-item scales, based on the statements loading highly on each factor, ranged from 0.67 to 0.89. Age and gender affected the responses. Females were more interested in the health and taste aspects of foods than were males. Younger respondents were less concerned with health but more interested in taste than were older respondents. A preliminary test of predictive validity was conducted by analysing subjects' responses to foods with weak and strong connotations of health and taste, and currently the questionnaires are being validated with further behavioural tests. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nutrients
                Nutrients
                nutrients
                Nutrients
                MDPI
                2072-6643
                15 June 2020
                June 2020
                : 12
                : 6
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Institute for Bioeconomy, CNR, National Research Council, Via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy; stefano.predieri@ 123456ibe.cnr.it (S.P.); giuliamaria.daniele@ 123456ibe.cnr.it (G.M.D.)
                [2 ]CREA, Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Center Food & Nutrition, Via Ardeatina 546, 00178 Rome, Italy; fiorella.sinesio@ 123456crea.gov.it
                [3 ]Department of Agriculture, Food, Environment and Forestry (DAGRI), University of Florence, Via Donizetti 6, 50144 Florence, Italy; erminio.monteleone@ 123456unifi.it (E.M.); sara.spinelli@ 123456unifi.it (S.S.); dinnella@ 123456unifi.it (C.D.)
                [4 ]Center Agriculture Food Environment University of Trento via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all’Adige, Italy; flavia.gasperi@ 123456fmach.it
                [5 ]Research and Innovation Centre, Fondazione Edmund Mach, Via E. Mach 1, 38010 San Michele all’Adige, Italy; isabella.endrizzi@ 123456fmach.it
                [6 ]University of Gastronomic Sciences, Piazza Vittorio Emanuele 9, 12042 Pollenzo, CN, Italy; l.torri@ 123456unisg.it
                [7 ]Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum—University of Bologna, piazza Goidanich 60, 47521 Cesena (FC), Italy; tullia.gallinatoschi@ 123456unibo.it (T.G.T.); alessandra.bendini@ 123456unibo.it (A.B.)
                [8 ]Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, University of Milan, Via Celoria 2, 20133 Milano, Italy; ella.pagliarini@ 123456unimi.it (E.P.); camilla.cattaneo@ 123456unimi.it (C.C.); monica.laureati@ 123456unimi.it (M.L.)
                [9 ]Department of Agricultural sciences, University of Naples Federico II, via Università 100, 80055 Portici (NA), Italy; dimonaco@ 123456unina.it (R.D.M.); paola.vitaglione@ 123456unina.it (P.V.)
                [10 ]Department of Biology, DBAF, University of Basilicata, Via Nazario Sauro 85, 85100 Potenza, Italy; condelli@ 123456hotmail.it
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: marta.cianciabella@ 123456ibe.cnr.it ; Tel.: +39-0516398083
                Article
                nutrients-12-01778
                10.3390/nu12061778
                7353239
                32549267
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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