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Spanish researchers study the effects of the Mediterranean lifestyle on childhood obesity

Spanish researchers study the effects of the Mediterranean lifestyle on childhood obesity

It is the primary public health problem among children in the country

Yesterday, the official website of the Government of Aragon informed that a multi-partner project, in which the local Health Research Institute (IIS Aragon) plays a central role, has won a NAOS Strategy Award from the national Ministry of Consumption as a recognition for its groundbreaking objectives.

The project, called Meli-POP (Mediterranean Lifestyle in Pediatric Obesity Prevention), is the first randomized, multicenter and controlled clinical research trial to be carried out with the aim of addressing the growing problem of childhood obesity in Spain, and more specifically its causes and how it can be prevented. Apart from the Aragonese capital Zaragoza, the other two centres where the study is taking place are Córdoba and Santiago de Compostela.

22% of Spanish children between 6 and 10 are overweight, 12% are obese

Spain is renowned for its Mediterranean cuisine abroad yet at home it seems changing trends and standards in consumption and physical activity are contributing to children being overweight at a much earlier age. That can potentially lead to serious health problems later in their lives, which can also arise at an earlier age.

That is why the current research programme will have a follow-up component where the participants will be evaluated 10 years later in order to see the results of the applied measures of the NAOS Strategy. This government-sanctioned plan’s abbreviation stands for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention in Spanish. In a sense, it is a return to the roots of how people used to live in the Iberian Peninsula during the times of less material wealth.

Traditional Spanish diet has always included plenty of legumes, vegetables, citrus and seafood products.

In this context, and under the protection of CIBEROBN, the 'Meli-POP' study arises, which aims to show how a Mediterranean eating pattern and regular physical activity reduces, during an approximate follow-up period of 10 years, the probability of developing obesity and cardiometabolic alterations during childhood and adolescence,” said Dr Luis Alberto Moreno, a principal researcher from IIS Aragon.

It is believed that the large-scale study will help develop clinical guidelines for the standardized prevention of childhood obesity in the future. Furthermore, biological samples, such as DNA will be collected from participants and stored in order to assess the cardiovascular risk factors that are linked to obesity.

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