In the early 1980s, Doll and Peto estimated that about 35% of all deaths from cancer in the United States were attributable to dietary factors, with a margin of uncertainty ranging from 10 to 70%. Since then, several dietary factors, e.g. fat and meat, have been suggested to increase the risk for cancer, while other factors, e.g. fibre, fruit and vegetables, have been suggested to decrease the risk. The case-control and cohort studies have, however, given ambiguous results, and the overall evidence is far from conclusive. The major findings on dietary factors that increase risk have been reported from case-control studies, but have not been confirmed in large population-based cohort studies. Although the research in this area indicates that diet is important in cancer prevention, current knowledge does not allow reliable estimates of the numbers and proportions of cancers that could be avoided through well-described modifications of dietary habits. During the last 10 years, low physical activity has been pinpointed as a risk factor for cancers at various sites, especially the colon; however, the causal mechanism is still unknown. Obesity, defined as a body mass index of 30 or more, is consistently associated with endometrial and gall-bladder cancers in women and renal-cell cancer in both men and women. As the prevalence of obesity was between 5 and almost 20% in the Nordic populations in 1995, 625 cancer cases (310 endometrial cancers, 270 renal-cell cancers in men and women and 45 gall-bladder and bile-duct cancers among women) can be predicted in the Nordic countries around the year 2000 to be caused by obesity. This implies that about 1% of all cancers in Nordic women and less than 1% of those in Nordic men could be avoided around the year 2000 if a healthy body weight could be maintained by all inhabitants.
Foods to be included in a Danish self-administered semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire were identified from food tables developed, together with data collected, for the survey 'Dietary habits in Denmark, 1985'. The questionnaire was to be used in a prospective study on diet, cancer and health, and the aim was to rank individuals with regard to intake of 19 different nutrients considered of prime importance in human carcinogenesis. The questionnaire for the dietary survey included 247 foods and recipes. From stepwise multiple regression analyses with the intake of each of the 19 nutrients as the dependent variable and the intake of the 247 foods and recipes as independent variables, the foods in the models explaining 90% of the between-person variability were considered for the final questionnaire. All relevant analyses were performed for the study group as a whole, for men and women separately, and in each gender for subgroups of energy intake. Taken together, the models explaining 90% of the between-person variability identified a total of 74 foods or recipes, which were important predictors of the intake of one or more of the nutrients considered. A few foods were excluded and a few foods were added to the final questionnaire based on common biological background information, and on information on foods providing important amounts of given nutrients, but which failed to contribute to regression analyses. The 92 foods and recipes, which were included in the final questionnaire provided altogether 81% of the average total supply of the nutrients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
General practitioners (GPs) in Denmark (n = 374) answered a questionnaire on attitudes toward including information on diet and sex in the prevention of coronary artery disease, cancers, osteoporosis, and weight problems. Risk factors for disease were ranked as follows: smoking, alcohol, stress, diet, physical exercise, heredity, and hygiene. Patients' lack of motivation, insufficient time for each patient, and inadequate knowledge about nutrition were listed by GPs as barriers to dietary counseling. GPs stated that the sex of the patient was important only for counseling on osteoporosis. Lack of time and insufficient knowledge were perceived as barriers to including sex-specific issues in prevention. One-half of the GPs were questioned about the issue of prevention on the basis of female case stories and the other half on the basis of male case stories with identical wording. Responses to the case stories indicated that GPs would give dietary guidance and recommend loss of weight to slightly overweight male patients to a much greater degree than to overweight female patients for prevention of coronary artery disease, give dietary counseling and recommend loss of weight and exercise to female patients more than to male patients for prevention of cancers, recommend a supplement of calcium and vitamin D for prevention of osteoporosis to female patients, and recommend weight gain and discuss psychosocial issues more with underweight female patients than with underweight male patients. Female GPs included measures of prevention such as dietary counseling, exercise prescription, dietary supplement prescription, and discussion of psychosocial issues to a greater extent than did male GPs.
BACKGROUND: Psychological stress and alcohol are both suggested as risk factors for stroke. Further, there appears to be a close relation between stress and alcohol consumption. Several experimental studies have found alcohol consumption to reduce the immediate effects of stress in a laboratory setting. We aimed to examine whether the association between alcohol and stroke depends on level of self-reported stress in a large prospective cohort. METHODS: The 5,373 men and 6,723 women participating in the second examination of the Copenhagen City Heart Study in 1981-1983 were asked at baseline about their self-reported level of stress and their weekly alcohol consumption. The participants were followed-up until 31st of December 1997 during which 880 first ever stroke events occurred. Data were analysed by means of Cox regression modelling. RESULTS: At a high stress level, weekly total consumption of 1-14 units of alcohol compared with no consumption seemed associated with a lower risk of stroke (adjusted RR: 0.57, 95% CI: 0.31-1.07). At lower stress levels, no clear associations were observed. Regarding subtypes, self-reported stress appeared only to modify the association between alcohol intake and ischaemic stroke events. Regarding specific types of alcoholic beverages, self-reported stress only modified the associations for intake of beer and wine. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates that the apparent lower risk of stroke associated with moderate alcohol consumption is confined to a group of highly stressed persons. It is suggested that alcohol consumption may play a role in reducing the risk of stroke by modifying the physiological or psychological stress response.
OBJECTIVE: To describe physical activity of participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). DESIGN: A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of a European prospective cohort study. SUBJECTS: This analysis was restricted to participants in the age group 50-64 years, which was represented in all EPIC centres. It involved 236 386 participants from 25 centres in nine countries. In each EPIC centre, physical activity was assessed by standardised and validated questions. Frequency distribution of type of professional activity and participation in non-professional activities, and age-adjusted means, medians and percentiles of time dedicated to non-professional activities are presented for men and women from each centre. RESULTS: Professional activity was most frequently classified as sedentary or standing in all centres. There was a wide variation regarding participation in different types of non-professional activities and time dedicated to these activities across EPIC centres. Over 80% of all EPIC participants engaged in walking, while less than 50% of the subjects participated in sport. Total time dedicated to recreational activities was highest among the Dutch participants and lowest among men from MalmÃ¶ (Sweden) and women from Naples (Italy). In all centres, total time dedicated to recreational activity in the summer was higher than in the winter. Women from southern Europe spent the most time on housekeeping. CONCLUSIONS: There is a considerable variation of physical activity across EPIC centres. This variation was especially evident for recreational activities in both men and women.