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Patterns of Red and Processed Meat Consumption across Generations: A Shift from the Traditional Mediterranean Diet

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Document pages: 28 pages

Abstract: Social changes, widespread dissemination of Western-type culture, and the globalization of food production and consumption have reduced adherence to the traditional Mediterranean diet (MD) in the Southern European countries where the MD originated. This study explores whether changes in the technology, culture and social welfare that have characterized Italy for decades may have influenced red and processed meat consumption across generations. Such consumption has been associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease and colorectal cancer and with negative environmental impacts. To obtain a broad picture of red and processed meat consumption and adherence to the MD across generations, we constructed a Mediterranean composite score that summarizes the frequency of these foods’ consumption. For the purpose of our study, we constructed a pseudo-panel derived from repeated cross-sections of the annual household survey, “Aspects of Daily Life,” that was part of the Multipurpose Survey carried out by the Italian National Statistical Office (ISTAT) from 1997 to 2012. We adopted an APC (Age, Period, Cohort) approach that involves age, period, and cohort effects. Our findings reveal that the oldest generations undertook a major shift from the traditional MD.

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