The Middle East, in particular, is facing the greatest threat in terms of escalating obesity epidemic. Adults in Mediterranean countries are at high risk of obesity, especially in Southern European countries. Greece and Spain had the highest mean body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC).
During the last few decades, the food habits in Mediterranean countries have largely evolved from vegetarian to a meat eating diet indicating a westernisation of food habits and a move away from a traditional Mediterranean diet. Following a Mediterranean diet might be associated with a lower risk of obesity. A recent review reported a trend toward a beneficial effect of the Mediterranean diet on Obesity. Some studies found no such relationships, and other studies suggested a protective effect of the Mediterranean diet on obesity, abdominal fat and weight gain.
Although a general trend for a negative relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and obesity has been report in numerous studies, results from the latest survey were inconsistent. Such inconsistency was particularly found in some Mediterranean countries from Southern Europe such as Greece and Spain. Consumption of items such as red meat and dairy, generally considered negative markers of the Mediterranean diet, may reflect very different socio-cultural and social-economic trends depending on the country. Because they are consumed in small or moderate quantities by the poor, rural and older sample, the consumption of these luxury items may be a marker of wealth rather than a marker of unhealthy eating. Successful Weight Loss and lower Cholesterol can be achieved by following a more Mediterranean diet with lower levels of fat.