• The Mediterranean Diet: Could Obese America Eat its Way to a Longer Life?

      Gillenwater, Jordan
      The Mediterranean Diet (MD) is a long-standing form of nutrition that may be partially responsible for the long life-expectancy of European Mediterranean countries. If this diet is capable of increasing longevity, it may be worthy of integration into U.S. culture. This study uses literature to explore the effects of the MD on disease prevention, as avoidance of potentially lethal, non-communicable disease could increase longevity. Nationally prevalent diseases were studied, including obesity, type II diabetes, and COPD, among others. Results indicate that the diet has been linked to lower risk for development of a wide variety of diseases, thus indicating it could lengthen American life expectancy, making it a concern for the governmental, economic, and public health sectors. Some challenges of integration of the MD in U.S. culture were explored in literature. Major obstacles include financial limitations for economically distressed individuals, lack of accessibility, and clashing cultural barriers on diet style. Solutions were investigated and include SNAP reform to lessen financial stress, elimination of food deserts through the “Let’s Move!” campaign, and education of the public sector about the MD. Many challenges exist as barriers for the adoption of the diet in the U.S., and successful integration will require local and federal efforts. While integration will not be easy, significant changes in the future could allow the diet to become a part of U.S. culture. The MD could provide the increasingly obese United States with an opportunity to eat its way to a longer, healthier life.