Year 2021, Volume 6, Issue 2

Year : 2021
Volume : 6
Issue : 2
Authors : Hamid EL BILALI, Gianluigi CARDONE, Francesco BOTTALICO, Giovanni OTTOMANO PALMISANO, Antonia ACQUAFREDDA, Roberto CAPONE
Abstract : The Mediterranean diet is considered an example of sustainable diets and an intangible cultural heritage of the whole humanity. However, attention to the Mediterranean diet changes from a country to another even within the Euro-Mediterranean region. In this context, this paper analyses the state of research on the Mediterranean diet in the Western Balkans (viz. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia). In particular, it explores whether and how environmental, economic, sociocultural, and nutrition-health aspects related to the sustainability of the Mediterranean diet are addressed. A search performed in June 2021 on the Web of Science returned 68 documents, and 41 of them were included in the systematic review. Most of the selected documents deal with Croatia, especially island regions, and focus on health-nutrition aspects while other sustainability dimensions are generally overlooked. The scholarly literature shows that higher adherence to the Mediterranean diet is associated with reduced risk of obesity, different non-communicable diseases (e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, metabolic syndrome) as well as mental illnesses. However, it also highlights a decrease in the Mediterranean diet adherence even in Mediterranean/Adriatic territories. Interestingly, some recent studies showed a shift towards the Mediterranean diet during the COVID-19 lockdown even among adolescents. The analysis suggests the need to adopt a holistic approach in studies on the Mediterranean diet to better understand the relationships between the sustainability dimensions and operationalize its contribution to the transformation of food systems and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Mediterranean region.
For citation : El Bilali, H., Cardone, G., Bottalico, F., Ottomano Palmisano, G., Acquafredda, A., Capone, R. (2021). Mediterranean diet in the western Balkans. AGROFOR International Journal, Volume 6. Issue No. 2. pp. 77-89. DOI:10.7251/AGRENG2102077E
Keywords : Mediterranean, COVID-19, health, nutrition, sustainable diets
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