The purpose of this paper is to evaluate how healthy food options recommended by the Mediterranean diet pyramid are actually consumed and advertised.
Three types of food consumptions in Greece are compared, the diet recommended by the Mediterranean diet pyramid, the actual consumption as was presented by the Data Food NEtwortking project and the advertising expenditure spent in the food sector. Data are presented in the form of a “food advertising pyramid”, equivalent to the food choices pyramids.
Comparison of the “food advertising pyramid” with the Mediterranean food pyramid reveals that the two pyramids have a somehow reverse relationship, meaning that the recommended for frequent consumption “healthy” food categories of the Mediterranean diet pyramid (placed at the base of the pyramid such as cereals, fruits and vegetables) were the least advertised by the food industry, and the less “healthy” options (dairy and sugary products) were the most advertised. This trend was more evident in advertisements targeted to children. An exception was the high advertising of yoghurt, a probiotic product considered to be a healthy food option.
The findings of this paper could be useful to nutritionists and national health authorities who should take into consideration the impact of food advertisement upon their strategy for healthy nutrition and prevention of obesity in childhood.
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