Research project
36 | monthsPLANMED

Promoting health and sustainability by mediterranean diet

Related toSpoke 05
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Task involved

Task 5.1.2.

Analysis of existing data on food consumption, lifestyle and biochemical/genetic parameters in Italian population groups along the lifecycle: elaboration of available datasets providing information on eating and lifestyle habits, accessibility, drivers and barriers towards a healthy diet of defined groups (children, adolescents, adults, pregnant women, older subjects) in connection with Spoke 1.

Task 5.3.1.

Identify the factors influencing adherence to the Mediterranean diet with attention to children and adolescents in Italy (including consumer needs and preferences, local determinants/drivers of food choices in connection with Spoke 1).

Task 5.3.2.

Identify key sociodemographic and psychosocial factors associated with adherence to the Mediterranean diet in adults and free-living older adults throughout Italy, and also detecting individual-level and environmental barriers that may affect this age group engaging in consistent healthful dietary habits in connection with Spoke 1 (e.g., social isolation, low-income, neighbourhoods with high rates of poverty, poor nutrition literacy).

Task 5.3.4.

Promotion of the new Mediterranean diet-based models using multiple dissemination, communication strategies, targeting also "family nutrition" based on the Mediterranean diet suitable for all members of the family, among school children and adolescents (in connection with Spoke 7).

Task 5.4.1.

Definition of the protocols for the acquisition of data and metadata relating to biomarkers of eating habits (identification of the multi-omic protocols of choice for the measurement of food biomarkers, classification of biomarkers according to specific links with diet-related risk factors, definition of criteria for the use of biomarkers for applications in interventions of diet improvement).

Project deliverables


Report on national food consumption accessibility, drivers, and barriers towards a healthy diet of defined groups (M32)


Identification of variables related to Mediterranean diet adherence, including socio-economic and cultural factors, lifestyle, nutrition knowledge, consumer preferences, etc. (M12)


Analyses on existing population-based cohorts including adults and people aged ≥65 years (M24)


Publication of informative material and public and virtual events (M12)


Development of guidelines for the “family” Mediterranean nutrition (M36)


Protocols and schemes for the measurement of biomarkers based on multi-omics platforms (M12)


Classifications of dietary patterns based on biomarkers discovery, and associations with possible diet-related health disorders (M24)

Interaction with other spokes

State of the art

The protective role of the Mediterranean Diet (MD) has been largely demonstrated, especially in diet related non-communicable diseases. The traditional MD pattern is a lifestyle of shared knowledge that is the result of a particular historical environment, in which traditions, local foods, biodiversity, nutrition, culture, economy and sustainability are connected, strongly characterized by local productions achieved through techniques based on traditions of that specific territory. The modern food producing system has provided wider market opportunities for regional food products but, at the same time, led to a significant drop in the importance of local markets and, to a change for the worse in traditional nutritional behaviours, affecting health. Changes in lifestyle behaviours are urgently needed and the MD should be adapted to modern lifestyles while respecting the basic healthy dietary principles and ensuring the sustainability of the whole food-chain at the same time.

Operation plan

1) Analysis of existing data on food availability and food consumption to assess the adherence to MD of the population. 
2) Identify key factors associated with adherence to the MD. 
3) To evaluate the impact of Mediterranean lifestyle on several indicators of nutritional and health status in target populations. 
4) Revision of literature of health disorders associated to low intake of fibre. 
5) Screening of the measurement methods of fibre biomarkers and their classification associated to different fibre consumption. 
6) Promotion of the new MD-based models and lifestyle by adequate physical activity planning using multiple dissemination, communication strategies, towards target groups (in connection with Spoke 7).
7) Promotion of food products for the improvement of actual food consumption versus a healthy and sustainable diet also through the development of optimal local recipes formulation of ingredients to balance nutrients (in connection with Spoke 4).

Expected results

1. To add information lacking from the available datasets and to provide a setting for the validation of possible biomarker of MD consumption (see WP 5.4.), new intervention (in connection with Spoke 4) or educational strategies (in connection with spoke 7).

2. To create new consumer’s demands by changing dietary patterns also increasing eating Mediterranean dietary pattern.

3. Improving health closely related with resource-conscious consumption and directly shapes diet design and development.

4. To sensitize consumers and to improve awareness and knowledge about the advantage to consume Mediterranean food product in a healthy and sustainable diet.

5. Establishing a set of biomarkers of dietary fibre intake that may lead to a strengthening of the correlations between food intake and health outcomes.