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To describe anthropometric characteristics of participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of a European prospective cohort study.
This analysis includes study populations from 25 centres in nine European countries. The British populations comprised both a population-based and a ‘health-conscious’ group. The analysis was restricted to 83 178 men and 163 851 women aged 50–64 years, this group being represented in all centres.
Anthropometric examinations were undertaken by trained observers using standardised methods and included measurements of weight, height, and waist and hip circumferences. In the ‘health-conscious’ group (UK), anthropometric measures were predicted from self-reports.
Except in the ‘health-conscious’ group (UK) and in the French centres, mean body mass index (BMI) exceeded 25.0 kg m-2. The prevalence of obesity (BMI≥30 kg m-2) varied from 8% to 40% in men, and from 5% to 53% in women, with high prevalences (>25%) in the centres from Spain, Greece, Ragusa and Naples (Italy) and the lowest prevalences (<10%) in the French centres and the ‘health-conscious’ group (UK). The prevalence of a large waist circumference or a high waist-to-hip ratio was high in centres from Spain, Greece, Ragusa and Naples (Italy) and among women from centres in Germany and Bilthoven (The Netherlands).
Anthropometric measures varied considerably within the EPIC population. These data provide a strong base for further investigation of anthropometric measures in relation to the risk of chronic diseases, especially cancer.
To evaluate the consumption of added fats and oils across the European centres and countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Design and setting:
24-Hour dietary recalls were collected by means of standardised computer-guided interviews in 27 redefined EPIC centres across 10 European countries.
From an initial number of 36 900 subjects, single dietary recalls from 22 924 women and 13 031 men in the age range of 35–74 years were included.
Mean daily intake of added fats and oils varied between 16.2 g (Varese, Italy) and 41.1 g (Malmö, Sweden) in women and between 24.7 g (Ragusa, Italy) and 66.0 g (Potsdam, Germany) in men. Total mean lipid intake by consumption of added fats and oils, including those used for sauce preparation, ranged between 18.3 (Norway) and 37.2 g day−1 (Greece) in women and 28.4 (Heidelberg, Germany) and 51.2 g day−1 (Greece) in men. The Mediterranean EPIC centres with high olive oil consumption combined with low animal fat intake contrasted with the central and northern European centres where fewer vegetable oils, more animal fats and a high proportion of margarine were consumed. The consumption of added fats and oils of animal origin was highest in the German EPIC centres, followed by the French. The contribution of added fats and oils to total energy intake ranged from 8% in Norway to 22% in Greece.
The results demonstrate a high variation in dietary intake of added fats and oils in EPIC, providing a good opportunity to elucidate the role of dietary fats in cancer aetiology.
The aim of this study was to compare the quantities of alcohol and types of alcoholic beverages consumed, and the timing of consumption, in centres participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). These centres, in 10 European countries, are characterised by widely differing drinking habits and frequencies of alcohol-related diseases.
We collected a single standardised 24-hour dietary recall per subject from a random sample of the EPIC cohort (36 900 persons initially and 35 955 after exclusion of subjects under 35 and over 74 years of age). This provided detailed information on the distribution of alcohol consumption during the day in relation to main meals, and was used to determine weekly consumption patterns. The crude and adjusted (by age, day of week and season) means of total ethanol consumption and consumption according to type of beverage were stratified by centre and sex.
Sex was a strong determinant of drinking patterns in all 10 countries. The highest total alcohol consumption was observed in the Spanish centres (San Sebastian, 41.4 g day−1) for men and in Danish centres (Copenhagen, 20.9 g day−1) for women. The lowest total alcohol intake was in the Swedish centres (Umeå, 10.2 g day−1) in men and in Greek women (3.4 g day−1). Among men, the main contributor to total alcohol intake was wine in Mediterranean countries and beer in the Dutch, German, Swedish and Danish centres. In most centres, the main source of alcohol for women was wine except for Murcia (Spain), where it was beer. Alcohol consumption, particularly by women, increased markedly during the weekend in nearly all centres. The German, Dutch, UK (general population) and Danish centres were characterised by the highest percentages of alcohol consumption outside mealtimes.
The large variation in drinking patterns among the EPIC centres provides an opportunity to better understand the relationship between alcohol and alcohol-related diseases.
To describe and compare the consumption of the main groups and sub-groups of vegetables and fruits (V&F) in men and women from the centres participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Cross-sectional analysis. Dietary intake was assessed by means of a 24-hour dietary recall using computerised interview software and standardised procedures. Crude and adjusted means were computed for the main groups and sub-groups of V&F by centre, separately for men and women. Adjusted means by season, day of the week and age were estimated using weights and covariance analysis.
Twenty-seven centres in 10 European countries participating in the EPIC project.
In total, 35 955 subjects (13 031 men and 22 924 women), aged 35–74 years, randomly selected from each EPIC cohort.
The centres from southern countries had the highest consumption of V&F, while the lowest intake was seen in The Netherlands and Scandinavia for both genders. These differences were more evident for fruits, particularly citrus. However, slightly different patterns arose for some sub-groups of vegetables, such as root vegetables and cabbage. Adjustment for body mass index, physical activity, smoking habits and education did not substantially modify the mean intakes of vegetables and fruits.
Total vegetable and fruit intake follows a south–north gradient in both genders, whereas for several sub-groups of vegetables a different geographic distribution exists. Differences in mean intake of V&F by centre were not explained by lifestyle factors associated with V&F intake.
To evaluate meat intake patterns in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohorts.
Design and setting:
24-Hour dietary recalls were assessed within the framework of a prospective cohort study in 27 centres across 10 European countries by means of standardised computer-assisted interviews.
In total, 22 924 women and 13 031 men aged 35–74 years.
Mean total meat intake was lowest in the ‘health-conscious’ cohort in the UK (15 and 21 g day−1 in women and men, respectively) and highest in the north of Spain, especially in San Sebastian (124 and 234 g day−1, respectively). In the southern Spanish centres and in Naples (Italy), meat consumption was distinctly lower than in the north of these countries. Central and northern European centres/countries showed rather similar meat consumption patterns, except for the British and French cohorts. Differences in the intake of meat sub-groups (e.g. red meat, processed meat) across EPIC were even higher than found for total meat intake. With a few exceptions, the Mediterranean EPIC centres revealed a higher proportion of beef/veal and poultry and less pork or processed meat than observed in central or northern European centres. The highest sausage consumption was observed for the German EPIC participants, followed by the Norwegians, Swedish, Danish and Dutch.
The results demonstrate distinct differences in meat consumption patterns between EPIC centres across Europe. This is an important prerequisite for obtaining further insight into the relationship between meat intake and the development of chronic diseases.
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