Title of Work

Improved Mediterranean diet scores by increasing Omega-3 containing foods in U.S. adult diets

Document Type


Publication/Presentation Date

May 2022

Conference Location

Altanta, GA


Objective: The Mediterranean-Style Diet (MedD) pattern is associated with lower risk for chronic diseases. Key components to the MedD pattern are consumption of olive oil, green leafy vegetables, and fatty fish, all sources of omega-3 (O-3) fatty acids. The purpose of this study is to predict alignment to a MedD pattern using O-3 containing foods. Methods: A sample of 19,978 25-65 year olds with two reliable 24-hour recalls was obtained from the 2007-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Multiple regression analyses determined differences by adherence level, high scorers (HS) vs. general population (GP), to the MedD pattern for dietary outcomes. Using isocaloric food substitution modeling within the GP, changes in MedD score were measured. Results: The average MedD score in HS was 16.7±0.09 versus 7.1±0.05in GP (p<0.0001).Exclusive olive oil (OO) use was reported at 0.3% in GP; if OO use increased to half of oil as OO, MedD score would increase by2.1 points. MedD score increased by 0.56 when replacing 4 oz. red meat for 4 oz. fish in the GP and 6.26 when replacing 0.67 cups starchy vegetables with 2 cups non-starchy vegetables. Conclusions: Increasing oil consumption to include half of oils from OO, replacing 4 oz of red meat with 4 oz of fatty fish, and replacing 0.67 cups starchy vegetables with 2 cups of non-starchy vegetables would help the GP to achieve better alignment to a MedD pattern.

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