IT'S official. The lady of the house in the Balearics is king of the home and decides on most things, especially when it comes to food.
In nearly 80 percent of cases, women are the key managers in this area through the compilation of lists of food stuffs, cooking, or giving advice on what might be considered healthy diet. Men are only seen providing this service in some 25 percent of cases. Apart from this influence of women in the home, the gentler sex is seen as having a better measure than men of what is meant by healthy eating and of how to incorporate the correct balance of food into daily intake. These factors are the result of research made into the role of women in feeding the household, pioneered by the Omega 3 Institute of the Puleva Foundation. The fact that it is the woman in the home who advises on healthy eating is confirmed by 79 percent of the population in the Balearics. This single factor, guidance on diet, is the most important aspect at play in family health. Men only assume this role in 2 percent of cases and the task is shared by men and women among some 19 percent.
The research confirmed that there is a trend encouraging the return to a Mediterranean style diet and of consuming foods known to have health benefits. Concern for good health was high on the agenda as was guarding against obesity. So when asked if the consumption of certain foods had been decreased or increased, those who were interviewed in the Balearics affirmed they were eating more yoghurts (47 percent), semi-skimmed or fat-free milk (43 percent), fruit and green vegetables (36 percent), and cheese (36 percent). From another perspective, 71 percent of the cross section interviewed said they had reduced their intake of pre-cooked food, 60 percent were eating less fatty foods, 57 percent were not using full cream milk and 53 percent were cutting down on sweets and chocolates. “The most recent studies published had rung alarm bells concerning the bad eating habits of the Spanish, and in particular on the quality of fatty food that we consume. The Balearics are listed in the report, possibly because of the region's awareness of the need to reduce intake of foods that are rich in saturated fats (which cause an increase in LDL or ´bad cholesterol) and those that could be related to obesity and high blood pressure. These undesirable foods are being reduced or eliminated in favour of others that are known to be healthier”, suggests Lourdes Pérez-Olleros, a doctor of pharmacy and Spokesperson of the Omega 3 Institute.
SHOWING “An example of data showing that people in the Balearics are responding to health warnings is related to the consumption of milk. Full cream milk is being substituted by semi-skimmed or fat free milk, thereby eliminating the intake of saturated fats in exchange for others which are healthier for the heart”. Comparing the sexes, there is a clear tendency for woman to eat more healthily than men. The interviews also showed that the increase in the consumption of all foods that we might call “healthy” is more notable in the case of women; in the case of food that could not be labelled “healthy”, it was men who admitted to not addressing sufficiently the issue of cutting out these foodstuffs from their diet. Age is also a factor to take into consideration. People above 65 showed a greater than average tendency to reduce the intake of “unhealthy” foods in favour of a more balanced diet.