The diet that is known to be the healthiest in the world is called the Mediterranean diet. However, looking at a new report from the World Health Organization (WHO), Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Malt, San Marino and Spain have a huge rate of childhood obesity, the biggest in Europe.
So, what happened to the healthy diet?
Research shows that a traditional Mediterranean diet can decrease the risk of heart disease or of developing cancer. It also lowers the risk of dementia and Parkinson’s. It’s a diet which includes vegetables, fruit, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, and poultry. It doesn’t include processed foods or red meat.
Looking at the report from WHO, Swedish children eat more olive oil, seafood, and tomatoes than the children in the south European countries.
Living in countries where they have better access to the healthy diet, 18-21% of the boys are obese, according to a CNN report. Countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain have 40% of the 9-year-olds overweight or obese, with Cyprus reaching 43%.
We Need to Recover the Mediterranean Diet
Dr. João Breda is the head of the WHO European office for prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. He believes that they obesity has risen to these numbers because processed foods and sugary beverages have become more popular than traditional foods. He also suggested that the unhealthy diet combined with the lack of physical activity in children is what increases the risk of obesity.
Breda said at the European Congress on Obesity in Vienna that:
“The Mediterranean diet for the children in these countries is gone. There is no Mediterranean diet anymore. Those who are close to the Mediterranean diet are the Swedish kids. The Mediterranean diet is gone, and we need to recover it.”
However, Breda explains that we must recreate the Mediterranean diet fit for this century:
“We must ensure the provision of calories is adjusted for modern life and physical activity levels are increased — basically adjusting and recovering the Mediterranean diet to the 21st century.”
Rex Austinwas born and raised in Thunder Bay Ontario on the shores of Lake Superior. Apart from running his own podcast (Ice Fishing And Other “Cool” Things), he spends his time canoeing and backpacking in Northern Ontario.. As a journalist Rex has published stories for Global News (Thunder Bay) we well as Buzz Feed and Joystiq. As a contributor to Great Lakes Ledger, Rex most covers science and health stories. Contact Rexhere