Well-informed people stick to healthier eating patterns
Washington, Jan 13 (ANI): The more people are informed by newspapers, television and the Internet, the more they stick to the Mediterranean diet, which is the healthiest eating pattern in the world, a new study has found.
The study conducted by the Research Laboratories at the Fondazione di Ricerca e Cura "Giovanni Paolo II" in Campobasso which analysed data from a sample of more than 1,000 people from the largest Moli-sani Project, the epidemiological study that recruited 25,000 subjects in Molise, a southern region of Italy.
So far scientists analysed just the effects of television viewing on health, coming to negative conclusions.
"Scientific literature has mainly focused on television viewing, considered a risk factor for health mainly because it represents a measure of physical inactivity," Marialaura Bonaccio, first author of the study, said.
"Basically, watching TV is often linked to physical inactivity and snacking, with negative effects on obesity, a major cardiovascular risk factor. In our study we paid attention to the capacity of people to get informed by using mass media, including the Internet and newspapers or magazines. We sought to see whether most informed people had better eating habits than those less exposed to information," Bonaccio said.
Researchers from Campobasso conducted their study on more than 1,000 adult subjects randomly recruited from the general population. who participated to the epidemiological study Moli-sani.
In addition to different information collected for the main project (medical information, lifestyle, dietary habits, etc) the participants to Moli-news also completed a specific questionnaire on mass media usage, from TV viewing to newspaper and magazine reading and surfing the Internet. Researchers had in the meantime created a score of mass media information exposure.
"Exposition to several media explains has then been associated to lifestyle. We focused on eating habits, mainly on Mediterranean diet. Results have shown that people most exposed to information delivered by any mass media source, reported higher adherence to the Mediterranean-like eating patterns," Americo Bonanni, head of the Science communication unit of the Research Laboratories, said.
"The latter are considered as the most effective eating model for reducing the risk of chronic and neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, people resulting more informed reported higher consumption of some key foods of the Mediterranean diet pyramid, such as fruits and fresh fish, and a lower consumption of less healthy food such as animal fats," he said.
Giovanni de Gaetano, the director of the Research Laboratories, also supported the contribution of mass media in increasing awareness about health.
"Information delivered by mass media may appear fragmented or imprecise, especially when we talk about health and prevention. Our study has however provided data which may turn out to be very useful in a period in which to combat obesity increase, unhealthy dietary habits and diffused laziness we are urged to find new ways to communicate health," Gaetano said.
"We should stop being suspicious of mass media. The next step will be to evaluate the single sources of information and to study the changes that the internet is introducing in the way people, mainly the youngest, get informed on health topics," Gaetano added.
The study has been published in the International Journal of Public Health. (ANI)
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