The Mediterranean diet, once thought of as a model of healthy eating, has lost many of its classic features. They no longer follow their traditional diet and as a result, they now have the highest rates of childhood obesity in Europe (>30%), and the adult obesity rate is near the top.
A recent University of Athens study of 312 fifth-graders in Greece's northern Ioannina region found 29.4 and 11.8 percent of boys were overweight and obese, while the figure for girls was 39.0 and 7.5 percent The researchers found that body mass index and blood pressure were positively related to frequency of fast food meals and negatively to leisure time physical activity.
The consumption of meat and cheese is increasing, while the consumption of bread and potatoes has been decreasing. Maria Hassapidou, secretary general of the Hellenic Medical Association for Obesity said, "People have gone toward a Westernized diet."
According to data provided by international agencies like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the United States still leads the world in prevalence of overweight people, but many European countries are catching up.
According to the WHO, as of 2005, 28 percent of Greek men and 25 percent of Greek women have a BMI of 30 or greater. In the United States, the numbers are 37 and 42 percent