(P07-023-20) Mediterranean Diet Adherence and Its Association with Cardiometabolic Factors in College Students
Objectives: Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet (MD) is related to a reduced risk of chronic disease, however, there is limited research related to the MD in young adults. Our objective was to examine MD adherence in a sample of undergraduate college students ages 18-24 and explore its association with cardiometabolic factors.
Methods: Data (n=3,117, 67% female) were collected between 2012-18 from the College Health and Nutrition Assessment Survey, an on-going, cross-sectional study at a midsized, northeastern university. Dietary and nutrient data were obtained from three-day food records; 2 items from an online questionnaire were used to evaluate fish and alcohol consumption. A modified MD scoring tool examined intake of 9 dietary components; scores ranged from low to high (0-9). MD scores were further divided into 3 categories (low, med, high MD). Anthropometric, biochemical, and clinical measures were obtained in the fasted state and used to examine cardiometabolic risk factors. Mean differences according to MD categories were evaluated via ANCOVA with the use of age, gender, year, semester, daily kcals, and BMI as covariates.
Results: Most students were categorized as consuming a low MD (40.4%) or med MD (40.1%); only 19.4% were categorized as having a high MD score. Modest but favorable differences in fasting glucose (87.6±.4, 86.9±.4, 85.5±.6, mg/dL p< .02) and diastolic blood pressure were observed (71.6±.3, 70.8±.3, 69.9±.5, mm Hg p< .01) with increasing levels of MD adherence categories, respectively. No differences in fasting triglycerides, HDL-C, waist circumference, or systolic blood pressure were observed between groups of MD adherence.
Conclusions: Our findings suggest the MD may be linked to some favorable health parameters in young adults. Understanding the relationship between different dietary patterns and development of chronic disease in this population will optimize interventions aimed at reducing disease burden.
Funding Sources: New Hampshire Agriculture Experiment Station and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project 1010738
Leila N. Ghaemi
Graduate Student University of New Hampshire Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Jesse S. Morrell
Principal Lecturer University of New Hampshire Durham, New Hampshire