The effect of the combination of Mediterranean diet and leisure time physical activity on the risk of developing acute coronary syndromes, in hypertensive subjects Academic Article uri icon


  • The World Health Organization reports that the number of hypertensives, worldwide, is estimated to be 600 million people. In addition a considerable proportion of hypertensive subjects remains untreated or uncontrolled. In this work we investigated the combined effect of physical activity and Mediterranean diet on coronary risk, in hypertensives. Thus we randomly selected, from all Greek regions, 848 hospitalised patients (695 males, 58 +/- 10 years old and 153 females, 65 +/- 9 years old) with a first event of coronary heart disease (CHD) and 1078 paired, by sex, age, region controls, without any suspicions for CHD. Physically active were those who reported non-occupational physical activity more than once per week. Subjects 'closer' to the Mediterranean diet were assessed through a special nutrient questionnaire. A total of 418 (49%) of the patients and 303 (28%) of the controls were hypertensive. Of these, 115 (27%) patients and 70 (23%) controls were untreated, 148 (35%)-111 (36%) were uncontrolled and 155 (38%)-122 (41%) were controlled (P-value <0.01). One hundred and sixty-two (19%) of the patients and 265 (25%) of the controls (P < 0.01) were 'closer' to the combination of Mediterranean type of diet and physical activity. The analysis showed that the previous combination is related to a 25% reduction of the coronary risk in controlled hypertensive subjects (OR = 0.75, P < 0.01), a 11% reduction in untreated (OR = 0.89, P < 0.05) and 17% reduction (OR = 0.83, P < 0.05) in uncontrolled, after adjusting for age, sex, educational and financial level and the conventional cardiovascular risk factors. Consequently, the adoption of Mediterranean diet by physically active subjects seems to reduce significantly the coronary risk and prevent, approximately, the one-third of acute CHD, in controlled hypertensive subjects.


  • Pitsavos, C
  • Panagiotakos, DB
  • Chrysohoou, C
  • Kokkinos, PF
  • Skoumas, J
  • Papaioannou, I
  • Stefanadis, C
  • Toutouzas, P

publication date

  • July 2002