Survival Mediterranean Style: A Cluster-Randomized Trial in the US Fire Service

(Recorded 6/1/2018)

Speakers: Stefanos N. Kales, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM

"Mediterranean Diet” (MD) describes the traditional eating habits followed in countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and is characterized by high consumption of olive oil, fruits, vegetables, unrefined breads and cereals, legumes and nuts, moderate consumption of fish and poultry, a relatively low intake of dairy products, and low-sparing consumption of red meat, processed meats and sweets. Robust data support the effectiveness of the MD in reducing all-cause mortality, CVD morbidity and mortality and cancer mortality, diabetes, and obesity.

“Feeding America's Bravest: Survival Mediterranean Style” motivates firefighters and their families to modify their food culture and reduce cardio-metabolic risk profiles by adopting Mediterranean Diet principles. It is a cluster randomized, controlled trial within the 44 stations of the Indianapolis Fire Department. It compares a Mediterranean Diet Nutritional Intervention (MDNI) (group 1) vs. usual care (group 2). The intervention includes behavioral and environmental components. The primary outcome is 12- month change in Mediterranean Diet score comparing group 1 vs. group 2.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand Mediterranean nutrition and its benefits
  2. Learn about the chronic disease risks of firefighting
  3. Review the trial and results to date

Stefanos N. Kales, MD, MPH, FACP, FACOEM, Harvard Medical School & Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Kales is a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Professor & Director of the Occupational Medicine Residency at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). He is co-director and co-founder of the Initiative for Productivity and Health Management, which organized and hosted the groundbreaking 2014 Mediterranean Diet and Workplace Health Conference and he was the Scientific Chair of the landmark 2017 Mediterranean Diet & Health Conference in Greece. Dr. Kales is also the Chief of Occupational & Environmental Medicine /Medical Director for Employee Health at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard-affiliated hospital system.

Dr. Kales has participated in a wide range of medical/public health research, advisory and teaching activities on five continents resulting in over 150 publications and wide recognition nationally and internationally. He serves on the editorial boards of several biomedical journals and is a faculty member in Harvard’s Cardiovascular Epidemiology Program, a multidisciplinary heart disease prevention collaboration, and Harvard Medical School’s Division of Sleep Medicine.