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The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of Mediterranean diet on weight loss in a large population in a municipality setting. A 6-month nutritional intervention was implemented in 50 randomly selected municipalities in Greece. In each municipality, approximately 180 overweight or obese patients were recruited and randomly assigned to an intervention group (n = 4500) or to a control group (n = 4500); 1816 and 2210 patients, respectively, completed the study. At baseline, the intervention group attended a 20-minute session where they received recommendations to follow a personalized, slightly hypocaloric, Mediterranean-type diet. The diet was adjusted every 2 weeks. The control group was provided with a leaflet on healthy nutrition and Mediterranean diet. Adherence to Mediterranean diet was evaluated with the Mediterranean diet score (MedDietScore). Subjects in the intervention group were less frequently males and current smokers, had higher body mass index, and followed a healthier diet at baseline than subjects in the control group. In the intervention group, weight, waist circumference, and body fat percentage decreased. In the control group, weight and waist circumference increased. In the intervention group, 48.8% of subjects lost > 5% of body weight compared with 4.2% in the control group ( < 0.001). The MedDietScore increased in the intervention group and did not change in the control group. Independent predictors of loss > 5% of body weight were the decrease in intake of full-fat dairy products and alcohol and the increase in intake of vegetables, in MedDietScore, in walking and in consuming breakfast. Lifestyle change programs focusing on the adoption of Mediterranean diet with frequent monitoring can be implemented successfully in everyday clinical practice. However, retention rates in such programs need to be improved.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Journal of the American College of Nutrition
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