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The knowledge about the association of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviours (SB) with the most considered healthy dairy products consumption, as milk and yogurt, in childhood is scared.
To assess the longitudinal relationship between specific lifestyle behaviours (PA and SB) and combined dairy consumption (milk + yogurt) in a sample of European children.
Two measurements, with 2 years’ interval (T0 and T1), were conducted in 1 688 (50.8% boys) childrenfrom the IDEFICS study. Dietary information was parental-registered by a 24-hour dietary recall. At both time points, sedentary behaviour and objective estimation of PA was obtained by accelerometers. Different groups were defined according to the international children's PA and SB behaviours recommendations over time. The cut-offs for the SB and PA recommendations were established on 2hour/day of SB and 2 hour/day of moderate to vigorous PA. Multilevel ordinal logistic regression models were used to assess the group's association with the combined dairy consumption (milk + yogurt), adjusted for potential confounders (sex, body mass index zscore, intervention versus control region, parental education level, dietary quality index, energy intake and the consumption by each dairy group at T0).
Nine groups of meeting or not both recommendations (SB and PA) were obtained. Those children who meeting both lifestyle recommendations at both measurement points, had higher probability to consume more milk and yogurt (p < 0.05), in comparison to the rest of combinations.Those children who did not meet any recommendations at both time points were less likely to consume milk + yogurt (OR: 0.47, 95%CI:0.26–0.83) than those who met both recommendations at both time points. Those children which improved one behaviours (PA or SB) between both measurement point were associated with low consumption of milk + yogurt (OR:0.41, 95%CI 0.22;0.74; OR:0.40, 95%CI 0.22,0.72), compared with those who meet both lifestyle recommendations at both periods (T0 and T1). Also, those which improved both behaviours (PA and SB) were less likely to consume milk + yogurt (OR:0.34, 95%CI 0.15–0.80) than those who were physically active and low sedentary at both time points.
These results suggest that European children with a healthy lifestyle regarding PA and SB over time, had the highest milk and yogurt consumption in comparison with other children.
Consumption of fruits and vegetables (F&V) among adolescents falls below recommendations in many Western countries. The impact of social and emotional aspects of family life on adolescent dietary behaviour may contribute to this, yet remains under-investigated. The present study examines the association between adolescents’ perceptions of emotional home atmosphere (EHA) and their F&V consumption frequency.
An FFQ was used to assess F&V consumption frequency. EHA was assessed by an eight-item measure with three subscales: perceived home warmth, strictness and relational tension. EHA subscales were used as binary variables: a score equal to or above the median value was considered as a higher perception, while a score below the median was considered as a lower perception of the EHA in question. Country differences in meeting the European 5-a-day recommendations were described. Further, the association between EHA and F&V consumption frequency was investigated using multiple linear regression.
Regional examination centres in eight European countries.
Adolescents (n 3196) aged 12–18 years.
The mean F&V consumption frequency was 3·27 (sd 2·84) times/d. Only 16·1 % of boys and 18 % of girls in our study sample met the recommendation of five F&V daily. After controlling for age, sex, education level of the parents and country of origin, perceived home warmth was associated with a 16 (95 % CI 9, 22) % higher F&V consumption frequency (P < 0·001).
F&V consumption frequency was suboptimal in the survey areas. Interventions targeting perceived warmth as a component of EHA could potentially have a positive effect on adolescents’ dietary behaviour.
The present study investigated the association between sugar and fat intake in childhood in relation to alcohol use in adolescence. We hypothesized that early exposure to diets high in fat and sugar may affect ingestive behaviours later in life, including alcohol use.
Children from the European IDEFICS/I.Family cohort study were examined at ages 5–9 years and followed up at ages 11–16 years. FFQ were completed by parents on behalf of children, and later by adolescents themselves. Complete data were available in 2263 participants. Children’s propensities to consume foods high in fat and sugar were calculated and dichotomized at median values. Adolescents’ use of alcohol was classified as at least weekly v. less frequent use. Log-binomial regression linked sugar and fat consumption in childhood to risk of alcohol use in adolescence, adjusted for relevant covariates.
Five per cent of adolescents reported weekly alcohol consumption. Children with high propensity to consume sugar and fat were at greater risk of later alcohol use, compared with children with low fat and low sugar propensity (relative risk=2·46; 95 % CI 1·47, 4·12), independent of age, sex and survey country. The association was not explained by parental income and education, strict parenting style or child's health-related quality of life and was only partly mediated by sustained consumption of sugar and fat into adolescence.
Frequent consumption of foods high in fat and sugar in childhood predicted regular use of alcohol in adolescence.
Physical activity (PA) levels and dietary habits are considered some of the most important factors associated with obesity. The present study aimed to examine the association between PA level and food and beverage consumption in European children (2–10 years old).
A sample of 7229 children (49·0 % girls) from eight European countries participating in the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary and lifestyle induced health EFfects In Children and infantS) study was included. Moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) was assessed objectively with accelerometers. FFQ was used to register dietary habits. ANCOVA and binary logistic regression were applied.
Boys who spent less time in MVPA reported lower consumption of vegetables, fruits, cereals, yoghurt, milk, bread, pasta, candies and sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) than boys who spent more time in MVPA (P<0·05). Moreover, boys who spent less time in MVPA were more likely to consume fast foods and water than those in the highest MVPA tertile (P<0·05). Girls who spent less time in MVPA reported lower consumption frequencies of vegetables, pasta, bread, yoghurt, candies, jam/honey and SSB than girls in the highest MVPA tertile (P<0·05). Also, girls in the lowest MVPA tertile were more likely to consume fast foods and water than those with high levels of MVPA (P<0·05).
Food intake among European children varied with different levels of daily MVPA. Low time spent in MVPA was associated with lowest consumption of both high- and low-energy-dense foods and high fast-food consumption.
To describe dietary patterns by applying cluster analysis and to describe the cluster memberships of European children over time and their association with body composition changes.
The analyses included k-means clustering based on the similarities between the relative frequencies of consumption of forty-three food items and regression models were fitted to assess the association between dietary patterns and body composition changes.
Primary schools and pre-schools of selected regions in Italy, Estonia, Cyprus, Belgium, Sweden, Hungary, Germany and Spain.
Participants (n 8341) in the baseline (2–9 years old) and follow-up (4–11 years old) surveys of the IDEFICS (Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS) study.
Three persistent clusters were obtained at baseline and follow-up. Children consistently allocated to the ‘processed’ cluster presented increased BMI (β=0·050; 95 % CI 0·006, 0·093), increased waist circumference (β=0·071; 95 % CI 0·001, 0·141) and increased fat mass gain (β=0·052; 95 % CI 0·014, 0·090) over time v. children allocated to the ‘healthy’ cluster. Being in the ‘processed’–‘sweet’ cluster combination was also linked to increased BMI (β=0·079; 95 % CI 0·015, 0·143), increased waist circumference (β=0·172; 95 % CI 0·069, 0·275) and increased fat mass gain (β=0·076; 95 % CI 0·019, 0·133) over time v. the ‘healthy’ cluster.
Children consistently showing a processed dietary pattern or changing from a processed pattern to a sweet pattern presented the most unfavourable changes in fat mass and abdominal fat. These findings support the need to promote overall healthy dietary habits in obesity prevention and health promotion programmes targeting children.
Socio-economic inequalities in childhood can determine dietary patterns, and therefore future health. This study aimed to explore associations between social vulnerabilities and dietary patterns assessed at two time points, and to investigate the association between accumulation of vulnerabilities and dietary patterns. A total of 9301 children aged 2–9 years participated at baseline and 2-year follow-up examinations of the Identification and prevention of Dietary- and lifestyle-induced health EFfects In Children and infantS study. In all, three dietary patterns were identified at baseline and follow-up by applying the K-means clustering algorithm based on a higher frequency of consumption of snacks and fast food (processed), sweet foods and drinks (sweet), and fruits and vegetables (healthy). Vulnerable groups were defined at baseline as follows: children whose parents lacked a social network, children from single-parent families, children of migrant origin and children with unemployed parents. Multinomial mixed models were used to assess the associations between social vulnerabilities and children’s dietary patterns at baseline and follow-up. Children whose parents lacked a social network (OR 1·31; 99 % CI 1·01, 1·70) and migrants (OR 1·45; 99 % CI 1·15, 1·83) were more likely to be in the processed cluster at baseline and follow-up. Children whose parents were homemakers (OR 0·74; 99 % CI 0·60, 0·92) were less likely to be in the processed cluster at baseline. A higher number of vulnerabilities was associated with a higher probability of children being in the processed cluster (OR 1·78; 99 % CI 1·21, 2·62). Therefore, special attention should be paid to children of vulnerable groups as they present unhealthier dietary patterns.
Cluster analysis is widely applied to identify dietary patterns. A new method based on Gaussian mixture models (GMM) seems to be more flexible compared with the commonly applied k-means and Ward’s method. In the present paper, these clustering approaches are compared to find the most appropriate one for clustering dietary data.
The clustering methods were applied to simulated data sets with different cluster structures to compare their performance knowing the true cluster membership of observations. Furthermore, the three methods were applied to FFQ data assessed in 1791 children participating in the IDEFICS (Identification and Prevention of Dietary- and Lifestyle-Induced Health Effects in Children and Infants) Study to explore their performance in practice.
The GMM outperformed the other methods in the simulation study in 72 % up to 100 % of cases, depending on the simulated cluster structure. Comparing the computationally less complex k-means and Ward’s methods, the performance of k-means was better in 64–100 % of cases. Applied to real data, all methods identified three similar dietary patterns which may be roughly characterized as a ‘non-processed’ cluster with a high consumption of fruits, vegetables and wholemeal bread, a ‘balanced’ cluster with only slight preferences of single foods and a ‘junk food’ cluster.
The simulation study suggests that clustering via GMM should be preferred due to its higher flexibility regarding cluster volume, shape and orientation. The k-means seems to be a good alternative, being easier to use while giving similar results when applied to real data.
Health-beneficial effects of adhering to a healthy Nordic diet index have been suggested. However, it has not been examined to what extent the included dietary components are exclusively related to the Nordic countries or if they are part of other European diets as well, suggesting a broader preventive potential. The present study describes the intake of seven a priori defined healthy food items (apples/pears, berries, cabbages, dark bread, shellfish, fish and root vegetables) across ten countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) and examines their consumption across Europe.
Cross-sectional study. A 24 h dietary recall was administered through a software program containing country-specific recipes. Sex-specific mean food intake was calculated for each centre/country, as well as percentage of overall food groups consumed as healthy Nordic food items. All analyses were weighted by day and season of data collection.
Multi-centre, European study.
Persons (n 36 970) aged 35–74 years, constituting a random sample of 519 978 EPIC participants.
The highest intakes of the included diet components were: cabbages and berries in Central Europe; apples/pears in Southern Europe; dark bread in Norway, Denmark and Greece; fish in Southern and Northern countries; shellfish in Spain; and root vegetables in Northern and Central Europe. Large inter-centre variation, however, existed in some countries.
Dark bread, root vegetables and fish are strongly related to a Nordic dietary tradition. Apples/pears, berries, cabbages, fish, shellfish and root vegetables are broadly consumed in Europe, and may thus be included in regional public health campaigns.
Whole-grain intake has been reported to be associated with a lower risk of several lifestyle-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes, CVD and some types of cancers. As measurement errors in self-reported whole-grain intake assessments can be substantial, dietary biomarkers are relevant to be used as complementary tools for dietary intake assessment. Alkylresorcinols (AR) are phenolic lipids found almost exclusively in whole-grain wheat and rye products among the commonly consumed foods and are considered as valid biomarkers of the intake of these products. In the present study, we analysed the plasma concentrations of five AR homologues in 2845 participants from ten European countries from a nested case–control study in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. High concentrations of plasma total AR were found in participants from Scandinavia and Central Europe and lower concentrations in those from the Mediterranean countries. The geometric mean plasma total AR concentrations were between 35 and 41 nmol/l in samples drawn from fasting participants in the Central European and Scandinavian countries and below 23 nmol/l in those of participants from the Mediterranean countries. The whole-grain source (wheat or rye) could be determined using the ratio of two of the homologues. The main source was wheat in Greece, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK, whereas rye was also consumed in considerable amounts in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. The present study demonstrates a considerable variation in the plasma concentrations of total AR and concentrations of AR homologues across ten European countries, reflecting both quantitative and qualitative differences in the intake of whole-grain wheat and rye.
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.
Measurement errors in dietary data lead to attenuated estimates of associations between dietary exposures and health outcomes. The present study aimed to compare and evaluate different approaches of handling implausible reports by exemplary analysis of the association between dietary intakes (total energy, soft drinks, fruits/vegetables) and overweight/obesity in children.
Cross-sectional multicentre study.
Kindergartens/schools from eight European countries participating in the IDEFICS Study.
Children (n 5357) aged 2–9 years who provided one 24 h dietary recall and complete covariate information.
The 24 h recalls were classified into three reporting groups according to adapted Goldberg cut-offs: under-report, plausible report or over-report. In the basic logistic multilevel model (adjusted for age and sex, including study centre as random effect), the dietary exposures showed no significant association with overweight/obesity (energy intake: OR=0·996 (95 % CI 0·983, 1·010); soft drinks: OR = 0·999 (95 % CI 0·986, 1·013)) and revealed even a positive association for fruits/vegetables (OR = 1·009 (95 % CI 1·001, 1·018)). When adding the reporting group (dummy variables) and a propensity score for misreporting as adjustment terms, associations became significant for energy intake as well as soft drinks (energy: OR = 1·074 (95 % CI 1·053, 1·096); soft drinks: OR = 1·015 (95 % CI 1·000, 1·031)) and the association between fruits/vegetables and overweight/obesity pointed to the reverse direction compared with the basic model (OR = 0·993 (95 % CI 0·984, 1·002)).
Associations between dietary exposures and health outcomes are strongly affected or even masked by measurement errors. In the present analysis consideration of the reporting group and inclusion of a propensity score for misreporting turned out to be useful tools to counteract attenuation of effect estimates.
A greater adherence to the traditional Mediterranean (MED) diet is associated with a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases. This dietary pattern is based on higher consumption of plant products that are rich in flavonoids. We compared the total flavonoid dietary intakes, their food sources and various lifestyle factors between MED and non-MED countries participating in the EPIC study. Flavonoid intakes and their food sources for 35 628 subjects, aged 35–74 years and recruited between 1992 and 2000, in twenty-six study centres were estimated using standardised 24 h dietary recall software (EPIC-Soft®). An ad hoc food composition database on flavonoids was compiled using analytical data from the United States Department of Agriculture and Phenol-Explorer databases. Moreover, it was expanded to include using recipes, estimations of missing values and flavonoid retention factors. No significant differences in total flavonoid mean intake between non-MED countries (373·7 mg/d) and MED countries (370·2 mg/d) were observed. In the non-MED region, the main contributors were proanthocyanidins (48·2 %) and flavan-3-ol monomers (24·9 %) and the principal food sources were tea (25·7 %) and fruits (32·8 %). In the MED region, proanthocyanidins (59·0 %) were by far the most abundant contributor and fruits (55·1 %), wines (16·7 %) and tea (6·8 %) were the main food sources. The present study shows similar results for total dietary flavonoid intakes, but significant differences in flavonoid class intakes, food sources and some characteristics between MED and non-MED countries. These differences should be considered in studies about the relationships between flavonoid intake and chronic diseases.
To compare the average out-of-home (OH) consumption of foods and beverages, as well as energy intake, among populations from 10 European countries and to describe the characteristics of substantial OH eaters, as defined for the purpose of the present study, in comparison to other individuals.
Cross-sectional study. Dietary data were collected through single 24-hour dietary recalls, in which the place of consumption was recorded. For the present study, substantial OH eaters were defined as those who consumed more than 25% of total daily energy intake at locations other than the household premises. Mean dietary intakes and the proportion of substantial OH eaters are presented by food group and country. Logistic regression analyses were used to estimate the odds of being a substantial OH eater in comparison to not being one, using mutually adjusted possible non-dietary determinants.
Ten European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
The subjects were 34 270 individuals, 12 537 men and 21 733 women, aged 35–74 years.
The fraction of energy intake during OH eating was generally higher in northern European countries than in the southern ones. Among the food and beverage groups, those selectively consumed outside the home were coffee/tea/waters and sweets and, to a lesser extent, cereals, meats, added lipids and vegetables. Substantial OH eating was positively associated with energy intake and inversely associated with age and physical activity. Substantial OH eating was less common among the less educated compared with the more educated, and more common during weekdays in central and north Europe and during the weekend in south Europe.
Eating outside the home was associated with sedentary lifestyle and increased energy intake; it was more common among the young and concerned in particular coffee/tea/waters and sweets.
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.
To investigate the association of a posteriori dietary patterns with overall survival of older Europeans.
Design and setting
This is a multi-centre cohort study. Cox regression analysis was used to investigate the association of the prevailing, a posteriori-derived, plant-based dietary pattern with all-cause mortality in a population of subjects who were 60 years or older at recruitment to the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Elderly cohort). Analyses controlled for all known potential risk factors.
In total, 74 607 men and women, 60 years or older at enrolment and without previous coronary heart disease, stroke or cancer, with complete information about dietary intakes and potentially confounding variables, and with known survival status as of December 2003, were included in the analysis.
An increase in the score which measures the adherence to the plant-based diet was associated with a lower overall mortality, a one standard deviation increment corresponding to a statistically significant reduction of 14% (95% confidence interval 5–23%). In country-specific analyses the apparent association was stronger in Greece, Spain, Denmark and The Netherlands, and absent in the UK and Germany.
Greater adherence to the plant-based diet that was defined a posteriori in this population of European elders is associated with lower all-cause mortality. This dietary score is moderately positively correlated with the Modified Mediterranean Diet Score that has been constructed a priori and was also shown to be beneficial for the survival of the same EPIC-Elderly cohort.
There is increasing evidence for a significant effect of processed meat (PM) intake on cancer risk. However, refined knowledge on how components of this heterogeneous food group are associated with cancer risk is still missing. Here, actual data on the intake of PM subcategories is given; within a food-based approach we considered preservation methods, cooking methods and nutrient content for stratification, in order to address most of the aetiologically relevant hypotheses.
Design and setting
Standardised computerised 24-hour diet recall interviews were collected within the framework of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a prospective cohort study in 27 centres across 10 European countries.
Subjects were 22 924 women and 13 031 men aged 35–74 years.
Except for the so-called ‘health-conscious’ cohort in the UK, energy-adjusted total PM intake ranged between 11.1 and 47.9 g day−1 in women and 18.8 and 88.5 g day−1 in men. Ham, salami-type sausages and heated sausages contributed most to the overall PM intake. The intake of cured (addition of nitrate/nitrite) PM was highest in the German, Dutch and northern European EPIC centres, with up to 68.8 g day−1 in men. The same was true for smoked PM (up to 51.8 g day−1). However, due to the different manufacturing practice, the highest average intake of NaNO2 through PM consumption was found for the Spanish centres (5.4 mg day−1 in men) as compared with German and British centres. Spanish centres also showed the highest intake of NaCl-rich types of PM; most cholesterol- and iron-rich PM was consumed in central and northern European centres. Possibly hazardous cooking methods were more often used for PM preparation in central and northern European centres.
We applied a food-based categorisation of PM that addresses aetiologically relevant mechanisms for cancer development and found distinct differences in dietary intake of these categories of PM across European cohorts. This predisposes EPIC to further investigate the role of PM in cancer aetiology.
Tree nuts, peanuts and seeds are nutrient dense foods whose intake has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. They are regularly consumed in European diets either as whole, in spreads or from hidden sources (e.g. commercial products). However, little is known about their intake profiles or differences in consumption between European countries or geographic regions. The objective of this study was to analyse the population mean intake and average portion sizes in subjects reporting intake of nuts and seeds consumed as whole, derived from hidden sources or from spreads. Data was obtained from standardised 24-hour dietary recalls collected from 36 994 subjects in 10 different countries that are part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Overall, for nuts and seeds consumed as whole, the percentage of subjects reporting intake on the day of the recall was: tree nuts = 4·4%, peanuts = 2·3% and seeds = 1·3%. The data show a clear northern (Sweden: mean intake = 0·15 g/d, average portion size = 15·1 g/d) to southern (Spain: mean intake = 2·99 g/d, average portion size = 34·7 g/d) European gradient of whole tree nut intake. The three most popular tree nuts were walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, respectively. In general, tree nuts were more widely consumed than peanuts or seeds. In subjects reporting intake, men consumed a significantly higher average portion size of tree nuts (28·5 v. 23·1 g/d, P<0·01) and peanuts (46·1 v. 35·1 g/d, P<0·01) per day than women. These data may be useful in devising research initiatives and health policy strategies based on the intake of this food group.
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