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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.
A new data-entry system (DINER – Data Into Nutrients for Epidemiological Research) for food record methods has been devised for the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer (EPIC) cohort study of 25 000 men and women in Norfolk. DINER has been developed to address the problems of efficiency and consistency of data entry, comparability of data, maximising information and future flexibility in large long-term population studies of diet and disease that use record methods to assess dietary intakes. DINER captures more detail than traditional systems and enables provision of new variables for specific food types or groups. The system has been designed to be fully flexible and easy to update. Analysis of consistency of data entry was tested in a group of 3525 participants entered by 25 coders.
A food list of 9000 food items and values for 24 000 portion sizes have been incorporated into the database, using information from the 5979 diaries coded since 1995. Analysis of consistency of entry indicated that this has largely been achieved. The effect of coders in a multivariate regression model was significant only if the three coders involved in early use of the program were included (P<0.013).
The development of DINER has facilitated the use of more accurate record methods in large-scale epidemiological studies of diet and disease. Furthermore, the retention of original information as an extensive food list allows greater flexibility in later analyses of data of multiple dietary hypotheses.
To examine the association between self-reported consumption of foods and plasma vitamin C levels.
A cross-sectional analysis of dietary data and plasma vitamin C levels. Subjects placed the following foods into frequency categories: fresh fruit, leafy greens, other vegetables, fatty fish, other fish, chicken, meat, meat products, eggs, cheese and brown bread. The six frequency categories ranged from ‘never’ to ‘at least daily’. Plasma vitamin C was measured by fluorometric assay.
A population-based cohort study in Norfolk, UK.
598 men and 566 women aged 45–74 years not taking vitamin supplements.
Plasma vitamin C was positively correlated with intake of fresh fruit (r = 0.29 in men and r = 0.25 in women, P < 0.001), leafy greens (r = 0.20 in men P < 0.001, r = 0.13 in women P < 0.01), other vegetables (r = 0.20 in men P < 0.001, r = 0.14 in women P < 0.01) and brown bread (r = 0.28 in men, r = 0.17 in women, P < 0.001) and negatively associated with intake of meat products (r = −0.13 in men P = 0.02, r = −0.10 in women P < 0.01). The difference in plasma vitamin C between never and daily eaters of brown bread was 13.6 μmol l−1 in men and 9.9 μmol l−1 in women, P < 0.001
These data suggest that plasma vitamin C is not only a marker of foods rich in vitamin C but of certain patterns of food consumption. Such patterns are likely to be population specific and might explain inconsistencies in biomarker–disease associations.
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