The Mediterranean Diet has been chosen as the best diet in the world for the fourth consecutive year for its health benefits, according to the US News and World Report North American ranking . This was stressed on March 2 by the group leader of the CIBERobn Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, author of the book "What do you eat?" and one of the world's leading experts on the Mediterranean Diet, upon receiving the 27th Prize for Scientific Career in Food, Nutrition and Health "Dr. Carles Martí Henneberg" from the Danone Institute. During his lecture "From what do you eat? to what do you drink?", Martinez-Gonzalez presented scientific evidence from the SUN study (University of Navarra Follow-up) suggesting that the Mediterranean Diet could reduce the risk of COVID-19 disease.
In his presentation, Martínez-contributed new scientific data, unique in the world, on the protection of the Mediterranean eating pattern against coronavirus infection. In the SUN study (Follow-up of the University of Navarra, with more than 9,000 participants who have been evaluated since 1999 with repeated measures of their diet and other factors), it has been shown that the better the Mediterranean Diet is followed, the lower the risk of becoming infected of COVID.
In addition, the researcher presented another recent study, published in the European Heart Journal , of which Martínez-González is a co-author, and showed for the first time that people who follow the Mediterranean Diet present in their blood a series of characteristic molecules that help to predict objectively the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke.
He also stressed that this eating pattern has emerged as a global strategy to fight obesity, more than any possible "magic pill" and has expressed concern about this unprecedented public health problem. The world's population has gone from being 100 million obese in 1975 to now 700 million. “Obesity makes the coronavirus infection more frequent and more serious. The current coronavirus pandemic will probably not exist within a year, but we will continue to suffer from this gigantic obesity pandemic, with excess weight that causes more than 4 million deaths a year,” explained Martínez-Gonzalez.
The professor of Public Health at the University of Navarra recalled that in the United States one in four people already suffers from severe obesity and in 2030 it is expected that in some of its states 60% of the population will be obese. In Spain, the problems of overweight and obesity have also been aggravated by the consequences of confinement, such as sedentary lifestyle or poor eating habits and "this excess weight already affects 70% of the population", he added.
Miguel Ángel Martínez-González has been researching the relationship between nutrition and health for more than 30 years, launched the long-term macro-study SUN (Follow-up University of Navarra), with 23,000 participants, and has led the network that carried out the largest trial intervention carried out so far on the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet, Predimed. He is an epidemiologist and professor of Public Health at the University of Navarra, and also a visiting professor at Harvard, from where both he and a good number of his collaborators and disciples have carried out various investigations and have contributed to important advice in various programs for the improvement of public health and food policies.