OBJECTIVES: To describe and compare the consumption of dairy products in cohorts included in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). METHODS: Data from single 24-hour dietary recall interviews collected through a highly standardised computer-based program (EPIC-SOFT) in 27 redefined centres in 10 European countries between 1995 and 2000. From a total random sample of 36 900, 22 924 women and 13 031 men were selected after exclusion of subjects under 35 and over 74 years of age. RESULTS: A high total consumption of dairy products was reported in most of the centres in Spain and in the UK cohort sampled from the general population, as well as in the Dutch, Swedish and Danish centres. A somewhat low consumption was reported in the Greek centre and in some of the Italian centres (Ragusa and Turin). In all centres and for both sexes, milk constituted the dairy sub-group with the largest proportion (in grams) of total dairy consumption, followed by yoghurt and other fermented milk products, and cheese. Still, there was a wide range in the contributions of the different dairy sub-groups between centres. The Spanish and Nordic centres generally reported a high consumption of milk, the Swedish and Dutch centres reported a high consumption of yoghurt and other fermented milk products, whereas the highest consumption of cheese was reported in the French centres. CONCLUSION: The results demonstrate both quantitative and qualitative disparities in dairy product consumption among the EPIC centres. This offers a sound starting point for analyses of associations between dairy intake and chronic diseases such as cancer.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the average consumption of carbohydrate-providing food groups among study centres of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). METHODS: Of the 27 redefined EPIC study centres, 19 contributed subjects of both genders and eight centres female participants only (men, women, after exclusion of subjects under 35 and over 74 years of age from the original 36 900 total). Dietary data were obtained using the 24-hour recall methodology using the EPIC-SOFT software. The major sources of dietary carbohydrate were identified, and 16 food groups were examined. RESULTS: The 10 food groups contributing most carbohydrate were bread; fruit; milk and milk products; sweet buns, cakes and pies; potato; sugar and jam; pasta and rice; vegetables and legumes; crispbread; and fruit and vegetable juices. Consumption of fruits as well as vegetables and legumes was higher in southern compared with northern centres, while soft drinks consumption was higher in the north. Italian centres had high pasta and rice consumption, but breakfast cereal, potato, and sweet buns, cakes and pies were higher in northern centres. In Sweden, lower bread consumption was balanced with a higher consumption of crispbread, and with sweet buns, cakes and pies. Overall, men consumed higher amounts of vegetables and legumes, bread, soft drinks, potatoes, pasta and rice, breakfast cereal and sugar and jam than women, but fruit consumption appeared more frequent in women. CONCLUSION: The study supports the established idea that carbohydrate-rich foods chosen in northern Europe are different from those in the Mediterranean region. When comparing and interpreting diet-disease relationships across populations, researchers need to consider all types of foods.
OBJECTIVE: To describe and compare the consumption of total fish (marine foods) and the fish sub-groups - white fish, fatty fish, very fatty fish, fish products and crustacea, in participants from the European Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of dietary intake using a computerised standardised 24-hour recall interview. Crude means, means and standard errors adjusted by age, season and day of the week were calculated, stratified by centre and gender. SETTING: Twenty-seven redefined centres in the 10 European countries participating in the EPIC study. SUBJECTS: In total, 35 955 subjects (13 031 men and 22 924 women), aged 35-74 years, selected from the main EPIC cohort. RESULTS: A six- to sevenfold variation in total fish consumption exists in women and men, between the lowest consumption in Germany and the highest in Spain. Overall, white fish represented 49% and 45% of the intake of total fish in women and men, respectively, with the greatest consumption in centres in Spain and Greece and the least in the German and Dutch centres. Consumption of fatty fish reflected that of total fish. However, the greatest intake of very fatty fish was in the coastal areas of northern Europe (Denmark, Sweden and Norway) and in Germany. Consumption of fish products was greater in northern than in southern Europe, with white fish products predominating in centres in France, Italy, Spain, The Netherlands and Norway. Intake of roe and roe products was low. The highest consumption of crustacea was found in the French, Spanish and Italian centres. The number of fish types consumed was greater in southern than in northern Europe. The greatest variability in consumption by day of the week was found in the countries with the lowest fish intake. CONCLUSIONS: Throughout Europe, substantial geographic variation exists in total fish intake, fish sub-groups and the number of types consumed. Day-to-day variability in consumption is also high.