Mediterranean Diet and Cardiometabolic Diseases in Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations in The United States

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© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) has been recommended to the general population by many scientific organizations as a healthy dietary pattern, based on strong evidence of association with improved cardiometabolic health, including lower risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity. However, most studies have been conducted in Mediterranean or European countries or among white populations in the United States (US), while few exist for non-Mediterranean countries or racial/ethnic minority populations in the US. Because most existing studies evaluating adherence to the MedDiet use population-specific definitions or scores, the reported associations may not necessarily apply to other racial/ethnic populations that may have different distributions of intake. Moreover, racial/ethnic groups may have diets that do not comprise the typical Mediterranean foods captured by these scores. Thus, there is a need to determine if similar positive effects from following a MedDiet are observed in diverse populations, as well as to identify culturally-relevant foods reflected within Mediterranean-like patterns, that can facilitate implementation and promotion of such among broader racial/ethnic groups. In this narrative review, we summarize and discuss the evidence from observational and intervention studies on the MedDiet and cardiometabolic diseases in racial/ethnic minority populations in the US, and offer recommendations to enhance research on MedDiet for such populations.