Adherence to the traditional mediterranean diet and human milk composition: Rationale, design, and subject characteristics of the MEDIDIET study

Guido E. Moro, Enrico Bertino, Francesca Bravi, Paola Tonetto, Alberto Gatta, Pasqua A. Quitadamo, Gugliemo Salvatori, Claudio Profeti, Paola Di Nicola, Adriano Decarli, Monica Ferraroni*, Alessandra Tavani, Bernd Stahl, Frank Wiens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: Knowledge about how a lactating woman's diet influences the composition of her breast milk is still very limited. In particular, no study has evaluated the role of adherence to the Mediterranean diet on human milk characteristics. Aim: We carried out an observational study to investigate the influence of mother adherence to a Mediterranean diet on her breast milk composition. Methods: Between 2012 and 2014, 300 healthy mothers, who exclusively breastfed their babies, were enrolled from five centers across Italy. During a visit to the hospital center 6 weeks after childbirth these women were asked to provide a sample of their freshly expressed breast milk and to answer a series of questions on personal characteristics and lifestyle factors. The application of a validated food frequency questionnaire allowed the collection of detailed dietary habits. Milk was collected and then stored until chemical analyses were performed. The study has been registered (Trial Registration: Dutch Trial register NTR3468). Descriptive analyses on baseline characteristics of mothers and babies were carried out on the participants, overall and stratified by center. Results: The participants had a mean age of 33 years (SD = 4.06), and a pre-pregnancy BMI of 22.3 Kg/m2 (SD = 3.22). Forty-seven percent gave birth to their first child, 40% to the second 13% to the third or subsequent child. Babies had a mean birth weight of 3,324 g (DS = 389), and a mean length of 51 cm (SD = 1.94). Fifty-three percent were males. Conclusion: The present work provides the general description and the characteristics of mothers and babies included in the MediDiet study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number66
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Issue numberMAR
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti-oxidative
  • Breast milk composition
  • Fatty acids
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Maternal diet
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Oxidative load


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