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To examine timing of eating across ten European countries.
Cross-sectional analysis of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study using standardized 24 h diet recalls collected during 1995–2000. Eleven predefined food consumption occasions were assessed during the recall interview. We present time of consumption of meals and snacks as well as the later:earlier energy intake ratio, with earlier and later intakes defined as 06.00–14.00 and 15.00–24.00 hours, respectively. Type III tests were used to examine associations of sociodemographic, lifestyle and health variables with timing of energy intake.
Ten Western European countries.
In total, 22 985 women and 13 035 men aged 35–74 years (n 36 020).
A south–north gradient was observed for timing of eating, with later consumption of meals and snacks in Mediterranean countries compared with Central and Northern European countries. However, the energy load was reversed, with the later:earlier energy intake ratio ranging from 0·68 (France) to 1·39 (Norway) among women, and from 0·71 (Greece) to 1·35 (the Netherlands) among men. Among women, country, age, education, marital status, smoking, day of recall and season were all independently associated with timing of energy intake (all P<0·05). Among men, the corresponding variables were country, age, education, smoking, physical activity, BMI and day of recall (all P<0·05).
We found pronounced differences in timing of eating across Europe, with later meal timetables but greater energy load earlier during the day in Mediterranean countries compared with Central and Northern European countries.
Glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) are indicators of dietary carbohydrate quantity and quality and have been associated with increased risk of certain cancers and type 2 diabetes. Insulin resistance has been associated with increased melanoma risk. However, GI and GL have not been investigated for melanoma. We present the first study to examine the possible association of GI and GL with melanoma risk. We carried out a population-based, case–control study involving 380 incident cases of cutaneous melanoma and 719 age- and sex-matched controls in a northern Italian region. Dietary GI and GL were computed for each subject using data from a self-administered, semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. We computed the odds ratio (OR) for melanoma according to quintiles of distribution of GL and GL among controls. A direct association between melanoma risk and GL emerged in females (OR 2·38; 95 % CI 1·25, 4·52 for the highest v. the lowest quintile of GL score, Pfor trend 0·070) but not in males. The association in females persisted in the multivariable analysis after adjusting for several potential confounders. There was no evidence of an association between GI and melanoma risk. GL might be associated with melanoma risk in females.
Exploring changes in children's diet over time and the relationship between these changes and socio-economic status (SES) may help to understand the impact of social inequalities on dietary patterns. The aim of the present study was to describe dietary patterns by applying a cluster analysis to 9301 children participating in the baseline (2–9 years old) and follow-up (4–11 years old) surveys of the Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-induced Health Effects in Children and Infants Study, and to describe the cluster memberships of these children over time and their association with SES. We applied the K-means clustering algorithm based on the similarities between the relative frequencies of consumption of forty-two food items. The following three consistent clusters were obtained at baseline and follow-up: processed (higher frequency of consumption of snacks and fast food); sweet (higher frequency of consumption of sweet foods and sweetened drinks); healthy (higher frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables and wholemeal products). Children with higher-educated mothers and fathers and the highest household income were more likely to be allocated to the healthy cluster at baseline and follow-up and less likely to be allocated to the sweet cluster. Migrants were more likely to be allocated to the processed cluster at baseline and follow-up. Applying the cluster analysis to derive dietary patterns at the two time points allowed us to identify groups of children from a lower socio-economic background presenting persistently unhealthier dietary profiles. This finding reflects the need for healthy eating interventions specifically targeting children from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
To compare, specifically by age group, proxy-reported food group estimates obtained from the food frequency section of the Children's Eating Habits questionnaire (CEHQ-FFQ) against the estimates of two non-consecutive 24 h dietary recalls (24-HDR).
Estimates of food group intakes assessed via the forty-three-food-group CEHQ-FFQ were compared with those obtained by a computerized 24-HDR. Agreement on frequencies of intakes (equal to the number of portions per recall period) between the two instruments was examined using crude and de-attenuated Pearson's correlation coefficients, cross-classification analyses, weighted kappa statistics (κw) and Bland–Altman analysis.
Kindergartens/schools from eight European countries participating in the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS) Study cross-sectional survey (2007–2008).
Children aged 2–9 years (n 2508, 50·4 % boys).
The CEHQ-FFQ provided higher intake estimates for most of the food groups than the 24-HDR. De-attenuated Pearson correlation coefficients ranged from 0·01 (sweetened fruit) to 0·48 (sweetened milk) in children aged 2–<6 years (mean = 0·25) and from 0·01 (milled cereal) to 0·44 (water) in children aged 6–9 years (mean = 0·23). An average of 32 % and 31 % of food group intakes were assigned to the same quartile in younger and older children, respectively, and classification into extreme opposite quartiles was ≤12 % for all food groups in both age groups. Mean κw was 0·20 for 2–<6-year-olds and 0·17 for 6–9-year-olds.
The strength of association estimates assessed by the CEHQ-FFQ and the 24-HDR varied by food group and by age group. Observed level of agreement and CEHQ-FFQ ability to rank children according to intakes of food groups were considered to be low.
Epidemiological studies suggest health-protective effects of flavan-3-ols and their derived compounds on chronic diseases. The present study aimed to estimate dietary flavan-3-ol, proanthocyanidin (PA) and theaflavin intakes, their food sources and potential determinants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration cohort. Dietary data were collected using a standardised 24 h dietary recall software administered to 36 037 subjects aged 35–74 years. Dietary data were linked with a flavanoid food composition database compiled from the latest US Department of Agriculture and Phenol-Explorer databases and expanded to include recipes, estimations and retention factors. Total flavan-3-ol intake was the highest in UK Health-conscious men (453·6 mg/d) and women of UK General population (377·6 mg/d), while the intake was the lowest in Greece (men: 160·5 mg/d; women: 124·8 mg/d). Monomer intake was the highest in UK General population (men: 213·5 mg/d; women: 178·6 mg/d) and the lowest in Greece (men: 26·6 mg/d in men; women: 20·7 mg/d). Theaflavin intake was the highest in UK General population (men: 29·3 mg/d; women: 25·3 mg/d) and close to zero in Greece and Spain. PA intake was the highest in Asturias (men: 455·2 mg/d) and San Sebastian (women: 253 mg/d), while being the lowest in Greece (men: 134·6 mg/d; women: 101·0 mg/d). Except for the UK, non-citrus fruits (apples/pears) were the highest contributors to the total flavan-3-ol intake. Tea was the main contributor of total flavan-3-ols in the UK. Flavan-3-ol, PA and theaflavin intakes were significantly different among all assessed groups. This study showed heterogeneity in flavan-3-ol, PA and theaflavin intake throughout the EPIC countries.
In contrast to some extensively examined food mutagens, for example, aflatoxins, N-nitrosamines and heterocyclic amines, some other food contaminants, in particular polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and other aromatic compounds, have received less attention. Therefore, exploring the relationships between dietary habits and the levels of biomarkers related to exposure to aromatic compounds is highly relevant. We have investigated in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohort the association between dietary items (food groups and nutrients) and aromatic DNA adducts and 4-aminobiphenyl-Hb adducts. Both types of adducts are biomarkers of carcinogen exposure and possibly of cancer risk, and were measured, respectively, in leucocytes and erythrocytes of 1086 (DNA adducts) and 190 (Hb adducts) non-smokers. An inverse, statistically significant, association has been found between DNA adduct levels and dietary fibre intake (P = 0·02), vitamin E (P = 0·04) and alcohol (P = 0·03) but not with other nutrients or food groups. Also, an inverse association between fibre and fruit intake, and BMI and 4-aminobiphenyl-Hb adducts (P = 0·03, 0·04, and 0·03 respectively) was observed. After multivariate regression analysis these inverse correlations remained statistically significant, except for the correlation adducts v. fruit intake. The present study suggests that fibre intake in the usual range can modify the level of DNA or Hb aromatic adducts, but such role seems to be quantitatively modest. Fibres could reduce the formation of DNA adducts in different manners, by diluting potential food mutagens and carcinogens in the gastrointestinal tract, by speeding their transit through the colon and by binding carcinogenic substances.
Dietary habits play an important role in healthy ageing. We have investigated the role of dietary patterns on overall mortality in a large series of Italian elderly, recruited in five EPIC cohorts in Northern (Varese and Turin), Central (Florence) and Southern Italy (Naples and Ragusa).A total of 5611 subjects (72·6 % women) aged 60 years or older, enrolled in 1993–1998, were prospectively followed (median 6·2 years), with 152 deaths (98 women). Four major dietary patterns were identified by using an exploratory factor analysis based on dietary information collected at enrolment. The associations between these dietary patterns and overall mortality were evaluated by Cox models adjusted for potential confounders. The ‘Olive Oil & Salad’ pattern, characterised by a high consumption of olive oil, raw vegetables, soups and poultry, emerged as being inversely associated with overall mortality in both crude and adjusted models. After adjustment for gender, age and caloric intake, overall mortality was reduced by approximately 50 % in the highest quartile and a significant trend emerged (P = 0·008). This association persisted after adjusting for several additional confounders (hazard ratio (HR) 0·50; 95 % CI 0·29, 0·86; P for trend = 0·02). An association of the ‘Pasta & Meat’ pattern (characterised by pasta, tomato sauce, red meat, processed meat, added animal fat, white bread and wine) with increased overall mortality was also suggested, but only for the highest quartile in a multivariate model. Dietary recommendations aimed at the Italian elderly population should support a dietary pattern characterised by a high consumption of olive oil, raw vegetables and poultry.
We aimed at examining the association between dietary constituents and risk of cutaneous melanoma.
In an area of northern Italy we recruited 59 newly diagnosed melanoma patients and 59 age- and sex-matched population controls, to whom we administered a validated semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire.
We found an excess risk of melanoma in subjects with a higher energy-adjusted intake of total polyunsaturated fatty acids and, in particular, of linoleic acid (relative risk = 2.16 for intake in the highest tertile compared with the lowest tertile, P for linear trend = 0.061). Conversely, disease risk was inversely associated with the consumption of soluble carbohydrates (relative risk = 0.34 for intake in the upper vs. the lowest tertile adjusting for total energy intake, P for linear trend = 0.046). No other dietary factors, including alcohol, vitamins and trace elements, correlated with melanoma risk. The association of melanoma risk with linoleic acid and soluble carbohydrates intakes was further strengthened in multivariate analysis, and when analysis was limited to females.
Overall, these results indicate that an excess energy-adjusted intake of linoleic acid and a lower consumption of soluble carbohydrates may increase melanoma risk.
Overall dietary patterns have been associated with health and longevity. We used principal component (PC) and cluster analyses to identify the prevailing dietary patterns of 99 744 participants, aged 60 years or older, living in nine European countries and participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Elderly cohort) and to examine their socio-demographic and lifestyle correlates. Two PC were identified: PC1 reflects a ‘vegetable-based’ diet with an emphasis on foods of plant origin, rice, pasta and other grain rather than on margarine, potatoes and non-alcoholic beverages. PC2 indicates a ‘sweet- and fat-dominated’ diet with a preference for sweets, added fat and dairy products but not meat, alcohol, bread and eggs. PC1 was associated with a younger age, a higher level of education, physical activity, a higher BMI, a lower waist:hip ratio and never and past smoking. PC2 was associated with older age, less education, never having smoked, a lower BMI and waist:hip ratio and lower levels of physical activity. Elderly individuals in southern Europe scored positively on PC1 and about zero on PC2, whereas the elderly in northern Europe scored negatively on PC1 and variably on PC2. The results of cluster analysis were compatible with the indicated dietary patterns. ‘Vegetable-based’ and a ‘sweet- and fat-dominated’ diets are prevalent among the elderly across Europe, and there is a north–south gradient regarding their dietary choices. Our study contributes to the identification of groups of elderly who are likely to have different prospects for long-term disease occurrence and survival.
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