Mediterranean diet and physical activity impact on metabolic syndrome among children and adolescents from Southern Italy: Contribution from the Calabrian Sierras Community Study (CSCS)

Published:October 06, 2016DOI:


      • KIDMED questionnaire among 6–14 years old children was used to assess Mediterranean diet (MD) adherence.
      • Of 1643 children, 18.4% had a poor and 81.6% a medium-high adherence.
      • Metabolic syndrome (MS) prevalence was 6.6% and 3.7% respectively.
      • In children with less physical activity, MS was more frequent vs those more active.
      • Thus, healthier lifestyle habits and physical activity also impact among children.



      The aim of this study was to assess the impact of Mediterranean diet (MD) and physical activity on metabolic syndrome (MS) prevalence in children and adolescents.

      Material and methods

      This cross-sectional study was carried out in 863 boys and 780 girls, 6–14 years old, from primary and secondary schools in a 14-town Southern Italian community. We modified the KIDMED questionnaire to adapt it to the local reality.


      Poor adherence to MD was seen in 18.4% of children and adolescents, while 81.6% had a medium-high compliance and the prevalence of MS was 6.6% and 3.7% respectively (OR: 1.8; 95% C.I.: 1.06–3.11; p = 0.013). When participants had less physical activity, MS was more frequent as compared to those more active (5.3% versus 2.3%; OR: 2.3; 95% C.I.: 1.3–4.3; p = 0.0068) which had a parallel counterpart when comparing those accustomed to seeing television for less or more than 5 h per day and MS prevalence was 12.3% versus 3.8% (OR: 3.38; 95% C.I.: 1.66–6.86, p = 0.0008), respectively. Finally, there was a specific abnormality in triglyceride levels, both in girls and boys, when participants were classified according to bad lifestyles, based on the combined evaluation of scarce adherence to MD and less extracurricular physical activity, accompanied by a 7-fold increased prevalence of MS as compared to those with the best lifestyle (11.0% versus 1.6%; p = 0.025).


      There is an apparent importance of healthier lifestyle habits including physical activity and adherence to the MD also among children and adolescents.


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