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To describe the diversity in dietary patterns existing across centres/regions participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Design and setting:
Single 24-hour dietary recall measurements were obtained by means of standardised face-to-face interviews using the EPIC-SOFT software. These have been used to present a graphic multi-dimensional comparison of the adjusted mean consumption of 22 food groups.
In total, 35 955 men and women, aged 35–74 years, participating in the EPIC nested calibration study.
Although wide differences were observed across centres, the countries participating in EPIC are characterised by specific dietary patterns. Overall, Italy and Greece have a dietary pattern characterised by plant foods (except potatoes) and a lower consumption of animal and processed foods, compared with the other EPIC countries. France and particularly Spain have more heterogeneous dietary patterns, with a relatively high consumption of both plant foods and animal products. Apart from characteristics specific to vegetarian groups, the UK ‘health-conscious’ group shares with the UK general population a relatively high consumption of tea, sauces, cakes, soft drinks (women), margarine and butter. In contrast, the diet in the Nordic countries, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK general population is relatively high in potatoes and animal, processed and sweetened/refined foods, with proportions varying across countries/centres. In these countries, consumption of vegetables and fruit is similar to, or below, the overall EPIC means, and is low for legumes and vegetable oils. Overall, dietary patterns were similar for men and women, although there were large gender differences for certain food groups.
There are considerable differences in food group consumption and dietary patterns among the EPIC study populations. This large heterogeneity should be an advantage when investigating the relationship between diet and cancer and formulating new aetiological hypotheses related to dietary patterns and disease.
To evaluate under- and overreporting and their determinants in the EPIC 24-hour diet recall (24-HDR) measurements collected in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Cross-sectional analysis. 24-HDR measurements were obtained by means of a standardised computerised interview program (EPIC-SOFT). The ratio of reported energy intake (EI) to estimated basal metabolic rate (BMR) was used to ascertain the magnitude, impact and determinants of misreporting. Goldberg's cut-off points were used to identify participants with physiologically extreme low or high energy intake. At the aggregate level the value of 1.55 for physical activity level (PAL) was chosen as reference. At the individual level we used multivariate statistical techniques to identify factors that could explain EI/BMR variability. Analyses were performed by adjusting for weight, height, age at recall, special diet, smoking status, day of recall (weekday vs. weekend day) and physical activity.
Twenty-seven redefined centres in the 10 countries participating in the EPIC project.
In total, 35955 men and women, aged 35–74 years, participating in the nested EPIC calibration sub-studies.
While overreporting has only a minor impact, the percentage of subjects identified as extreme underreporters was 13.8% and 10.3% in women and men, respectively. Mean EI/BMR values in men and women were 1.44 and 1.36 including all subjects, and 1.50 and 1.44 after exclusion of misreporters. After exclusion of misreporters, adjusted EI/BMR means were consistently less than 10% different from the expected value of 1.55 for PAL (except for women in Greece and in the UK), with overall differences equal to 4.0% and 7.4% for men and women, respectively. We modelled the probability of being an underreporter in association with several individual characteristics. After adjustment for age, height, special diet, smoking status, day of recall and physical activity at work, logistic regression analyses resulted in an odds ratio (OR) of being an underreporter for the highest vs. the lowest quartile of body mass index (BMI) of 3-52 (95% confidence interval (CD 2.91–4.26) in men and 4.80 (95% CI 4.11–5.6l) in women, indicating that overweight subjects are significantly more likely to underestimate energy intake than subjects in the bottom BMI category. Older people were less likely to underestimate energy intake: ORs were 0.58 (95% CI 0.45–0.77) and 0.74 (95% CI 0.63–0.88) for age (≥ 65 years vs. < 50 years). Special diet and day of the week showed strong effects.
EI tends to be underestimated in the vast majority of the EPIC centres, although to varying degrees; at the aggregate level most centres were below the expected reference value of 1.55. Underreporting seems to be more prevalent among women than men in the EPIC calibration sample. The hypothesis that BMI (or weight) and age are causally related to underreporting seems to be confirmed in the present work. This introduces further complexity in the within-group (centre or country) and between-group calibration of dietary questionnaire measurements to deattenuate the diet—disease relationship.
To describe the trends of self-reported past consumption of alcoholic beverages and ethanol intake from 1950 to 1995 within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Data on consumption of beer/cider, wine and liqueur/spirits were obtained retrospectively at age 20, 30 and 40 years to calculate average consumption and ethanol intake for the time periods 1950–1975 (at age 20), 1960–1985 (at age 30) and 1970–1995 (at age 40). Regression analysis was conducted with the time period data to assess trends in past alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake with time.
The EPIC project.
In total, 392 064 EPIC participants (275 249 women and 116 815 men) from 21 study centres in eight European countries.
Generally, increases in beer/cider consumption were observed for most EPIC centres for 1950–1975, 1960–1985 and 1970–1995. Trends in wine consumption differed according to geographical location: downward trends with time were observed for men in southern European EPIC centres, upward trends for those in middle/northern European study centres. For women, similar but less pronounced trends were observed. Because wine consumption was the major contributor to ethanol intake for both men and women in most study centres, time trends for ethanol intake showed a similar geographical pattern to that of wine consumption.
The different trends in alcoholic beverage consumption and ethanol intake suggest that information depicting lifetime history of ethanol intake should be included in analyses of the relationship between ethanol and chronic diseases, particularly in multi-centre studies such as EPIC.
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