CHRC study reveals that one-third of Portuguese adults do not follow the Mediterranean Diet

The article was published in the scientific journal Nutrients, by first author Nuno Mendonça, nutritional epidemiologist and researcher at the Comprehensive Health Research Centre and the EpiDoC Unit of NOVA Medical School.

From left to right: Ana Rita Henriques, Ana Rodrigues, Nuno Mendonça, David Lopes


“In Portugal, inadequate dietary habits are one of the leading causes for years of healthy life lost due to disability” says the researcher, reinforcing that the Mediterranean diet has been associated with a series of health benefits, namely the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, metabolic syndrome, and some neurodegenerative diseases.

Despite its implementation being one of the objectives of the National Program for the Promotion of Healthy Eating, adoption of this diet in Portugal, considered a UNESCO cultural heritage, has been below expectations. A cohort study performed by the EpiDoc unit with Portuguese adults reveals that 1/3 have low adherence to the Mediterranean Diet, and that this number is higher in those from lower socioeconomic groups. 

“Those who were younger, who spent less time in formal education, and with lower income were less likely to adhere to this dietary pattern”, says Nuno Mendonça, adding that “designing successful future public health policies to increase adherence to the Mediterranean diet should take these groups into consideration”.

The scientific article, “Low Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Is Associated with Poor Socioeconomic Status and Younger Age: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of the EpiDoC Cohort” had the contribution of other CHRC researchers, such as Ana Rita Henriques, Helena Canhão, and Ana Rodrigues, among other researchers from other health institutions.

Find out more about this research on the CHRC website and read the full article on the Nutrients website.