Compliance with dietary guidelines in the Catalan population: basis for a nutrition policy at the regional level (the PAAS strategy)

Lluís Serra-Majem, Lourdes Ribas-Barba, Gemma Salvador, Jaume Serra, Conxa Castell, Carmen Cabezas, Antoni Plasencia
Public Health Nutrition 2007, 10 (11): 1406-14

OBJECTIVE: To analyse the degree of compliance with the nutrition objectives and population-based food guides and to indicate possible recommendations for their development within the framework of a Nutrition and Health Policy in Catalonia.

DESIGN: Using data derived from the latest Catalan Nutrition Survey (ENCAT 2002-03) conducted by the Department of Health, compliance was analysed with respect to the recommendations derived as a result of a previously conducted Survey. In addition, compliance to the recommendations elaborated by the Spanish Society of Community Nutrition (SENC) was also evaluated.

SETTING: Catalonian region located in the Northeast of Spain.

SUBJECTS: Analysis is based on a total of 2160 individuals (996 males and 1164 females) aged 10-80 years interviewed in 2002-03.

RESULTS: The analysis of compliance with the recommendations established in 1995 showed: (a) recommendation to maintain and increase consumption of fruits and vegetables was not achieved; (b) continued use of olive oil as the dietary fat of choice was met; (c) incomplete compliance with maintaining the Mediterranean diet traditions, especially in the younger cohorts; (d) compliance with the recommendation to decrease consumption of red meat and sausages, but non-compliance with guidance to maintain or increase fish consumption and (e) compliance with partially substituting whole milk and dairy for low-fat products. Compliance with the SENC Healthy Eating Guide revealed that those food groups with the worst results were meat and sausages (excessive), pulses (below recommendations) and fruits and vegetables (below recommendations).

CONCLUSIONS: Compliance with dietary guidelines is low in Catalonia, and reflects the need for an effective nutrition policy in the region defined by the Autonomous Government as the Plan for the Promotion of Physical Activity and Healthy Eating (PAAS).

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