The prevalence of Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) which refers to the obstruction of large arteries of the body is estimated to be around 12-14% in the general population and increases up to 20% of those over 70 years old. It is of interest that 70-80% of affected individuals are asymptomatic and only a minority requires revascularisation or amputation. Major risk factors of PAD are smoking, physical inactivity, dyslipidemias, hypertension, diabetes, and, consequently, the metabolic syndrome (MetS). Since the early 1990s, studies revealed the association between PAD and mortality from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Diet has long been investigated in relation to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk and its major risk factors, like dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes, as well as the MetS. A recent systematic search of the literature based on 15 relevant observational studies that evaluated the direct effect of diet on CVD risk reported that the attributable risk of an unhealthy dietary pattern varies from 9 - 37%.
The concept of the Mediterranean diet was originally conceived by Ancel Keys, in the Seven Countries Study [1-2]. However, the core foods of the diet of people living around the Mediterranean basin have been recognized since the BC era: bread, olive oil, and wine were staple foods in the Greek and Roman diets; bread was symbolic of agriculture and human civilization and olive trees were the identity of Mediterranean lands.
Trichopoulou et al.: Definitions and potential health benefits of the Mediterranean diet: views from experts around the world. BMC Medicine 2014, 12:112. [Download]
The book summarizes and extends the conference and the views of national and international experts and aimed to reflect on the future of nutrition in a transversal perspective integrating such issues as population health, protection of the environment, the economy, employment, equity in access to food, and the preservation of local cultures.
This was a milestone in the discussion and guidance of food and nutrition policies in Portugal and can now be found in Portuguese and English.
Human Development Programme, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.