Social capital, tolerance of diversity and adherence to Mediterranean diet: The Rhea Mother-Child Cohort in Crete, Greece

George Kritsotakis, Leda Chatzi, Maria Vassilaki, Vaggelis Georgiou, Manolis Kogevinas, Anastassios E. Philalithis, Antonis Koutis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Objective To estimate the associations of individual maternal social capital and social capital dimensions (Participation in the Community, Feelings of Safety, Value of Life and Social Agency, Tolerance of Diversity) with adherence to the Mediterranean diet during pregnancy. Design This is a cross-sectional analysis of data from a prospective mother-child cohort (Rhea Study). Participants completed a social capital questionnaire and an FFQ in mid-pregnancy. Mediterranean diet adherence was evaluated through an a priori score ranging from 0 to 8 (minimal-maximal adherence). Maternal social capital scores were categorized into three groups: the upper 10 % was the high social capital group, the middle 80 % was the medium and the lowest 10 % was the low social capital group. Multivariable log-binomial and linear regression models adjusted for confounders were performed. Setting Heraklion, Crete, Greece. Subjects A total of 377 women with singleton pregnancies. Results High maternal Total Social Capital was associated with an increase of almost 1 point in Mediterranean diet score (highest v. lowest group: β coefficient=0·95, 95 % CI 0·23, 1·68), after adjustment for confounders. Similar dose-response effects were noted for the scale Tolerance of Diversity (highest v. lowest group: adjusted β coefficient=1·08, 95 % CI 0·39, 1·77). Conclusions Individual social capital and tolerance of diversity are associated with adherence to the Mediterranean diet in pregnancy. Women with higher social capital may exhibit a higher sense of obligation to themselves and to others that may lead to proactive nutrition-related activities. Less tolerant women may not provide the opportunity to new healthier, but unfamiliar, nutritional recommendations to become part of their regular diet.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1300-1307
Number of pages8
JournalPublic health nutrition
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 10 2015


  • Dietary patterns
  • Mediterranean diet
  • Pregnancy
  • Social capital

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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