Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular diseases in an Israeli population

Natalya Bilenko, Drora Fraser, Hillel Vardi, Iris Shai, Danit R. Shahar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Background. Israel is in the Mediterranean basin, but its population immigrated mostly from Europe, Asia, and Africa. We surveyed the adherence of the Israeli Jewish population to Mediterranean Diet (MD) and its association with cardiovascular disease. Methods. We studied a random sample of Jewish adults, aged 35+ using a 24-h recall questionnaire. A MD score (scale 0-8) was computed reflecting high ratio of monounsaturated to saturated fat; high intake of alcohol, legumes, cereals, vegetables, and fruits; low intakes of meat and it's products, milk and dairy products. Scoring <5 was defined as Low-MD consuming, while 5+ as High-MD consuming. Results. Five hundred twenty men and 639 women participated in the study, with High-MD consumers constituting 19% and 17% by sex, respectively. The risk for myocardial infarction, coronary bypass, angioplasty, and any cardiovascular disease in men increased by 1.2 (P = 0.04), 1.6 (P = 0.01), 1.4 (P = 0.003), and 1.3 (P = 0.01), respectively, for each MD score decrease. In women, crude odds ratios ranged from 1.4 to 1.9 but were not statistically significant. Conclusions. The current rate of MD in Israel is fairly low. Given the MD's proven preventive effect and local availability of foods, a reasonably priced MD diet can be devised and recommended widely in our population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)299-305
Number of pages7
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Chronic disease
  • Dietary pattern
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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