Three hundred and seventy-four general practitioners (GPs) in Denmark filled in a questionnaire on attitudes to include information on gender and diet in the strategy for prevention of coronary heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, and overweight/underweight. Risk factors for disease in general were ranked as follows: smoking, alcohol, stress, diet, physical exercise, heredity and hygiene. The patients' lack of motivation, insufficient time for each patient, and inadequate knowledge about nutrition were stated as barriers to dietary counselling. The GPs stated that the gender of the patient was important only to the counselling on osteoporosis. Lack of time and insufficient knowledge were perceived as barriers for including gender specific issues in prevention. It is concluded that GPs consider dietary counselling important but lack time and knowledge. The results point at a need for better pre- and postgraduate training in nutrition, and for a better reimbursement system for time spent on prevention.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the consumption of added fats and oils across the European centres and countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). DESIGN AND SETTING: 24-Hour dietary recalls were collected by means of standardised computer-guided interviews in 27 redefined EPIC centres across 10 European countries. SUBJECTS: From an initial number of 36 900 subjects, single dietary recalls from 22 924 women and 13 031 men in the age range of 35-74 years were included. RESULTS: Mean daily intake of added fats and oils varied between 16.2 g (Varese, Italy) and 41.1 g (MalmÃ¶, Sweden) in women and between 24.7 g (Ragusa, Italy) and 66.0 g (Potsdam, Germany) in men. Total mean lipid intake by consumption of added fats and oils, including those used for sauce preparation, ranged between 18.3 (Norway) and 37.2 g day-1 (Greece) in women and 28.4 (Heidelberg, Germany) and 51.2 g day-1 (Greece) in men. The Mediterranean EPIC centres with high olive oil consumption combined with low animal fat intake contrasted with the central and northern European centres where fewer vegetable oils, more animal fats and a high proportion of margarine were consumed. The consumption of added fats and oils of animal origin was highest in the German EPIC centres, followed by the French. The contribution of added fats and oils to total energy intake ranged from 8% in Norway to 22% in Greece. CONCLUSIONS: The results demonstrate a high variation in dietary intake of added fats and oils in EPIC, providing a good opportunity to elucidate the role of dietary fats in cancer aetiology.
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.
The role of diet in the aetiology of renal cell carcinoma was investigated in a population-based case-control study in Denmark. Cases were 20-79 years old, with a histologically verified diagnosis of renal cell carcinoma. Controls were sampled from the general population and were frequency-matched on age and sex. A total of 351 cases (73% of the eligible) and 340 controls (68% of the eligible) were included in the study. Dietary information was obtained in a self-administered food frequency questionnaire and the information was confirmed in a subsequent interview performed by trained interviewers who also elicited information on other suspected risk factors such as smoking, occupation, medical history, education and reproductive history. Logistic regression models were used to calculate the odds ratios, and, both frequency of consumption of various food stuffs and computed nutrients were examined. A positive association was observed between risk of renal cell carcinoma and total energy intake (odds ratio, OR, for highest quartile compared to lowest: 1.7 (95% confidence interval, CI, 1.0-3.0) for men, and 3.5 (95% CI 1.6-6.5) for women), fat intake (OR for highest quartile compared to lowest: 1.9 (95% CI 1.1-3.5) for men, and 3.3 (95% CI 1.6-6.9) for women). For women, an effect was also seen for intake of carbohydrates (OR for highest quartile compared to lowest: 3.2 (95% CI 1.5-6.8), while no protective effect was seen for vegetables or fruit. Dairy products may be associated with risk of renal cell cancer (OR for women using thickly spread butter compared to thinly spread: 11.4 (95% CI 2.8-45), OR for women who drank more than one glass of milk with 3.5% fat content compared to never drink milk: 3.7 (95% CI 1.2-11). As expected, total energy intake, intake of fat, protein and carbohydrates were closely correlated making it difficult to identify one of the energy sources as more closely associated with risk of renal cell cancer than the other. Several energy sources have been identified as possible risk factors for renal cell carcinoma. It is possible that a high energy intake as such rather than the individual sources are responsible for the increased risk. Furthermore, dairy fats may be associated with renal cell carcinoma risk. The observed associations appeared stronger in women, and did not explain the association with obesity and low socio-economic status previously found in Denmark.
OBJECTIVE: To describe the diversity in dietary patterns existing across centres/regions participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). DESIGN AND SETTING: Single 24-hour dietary recall measurements were obtained by means of standardised face-to-face interviews using the EPIC-SOFT software. These have been used to present a graphic multi-dimensional comparison of the adjusted mean consumption of 22 food groups. SUBJECTS: In total, 35 955 men and women, aged 35-74 years, participating in the EPIC nested calibration study. RESULTS: Although wide differences were observed across centres, the countries participating in EPIC are characterised by specific dietary patterns. Overall, Italy and Greece have a dietary pattern characterised by plant foods (except potatoes) and a lower consumption of animal and processed foods, compared with the other EPIC countries. France and particularly Spain have more heterogeneous dietary patterns, with a relatively high consumption of both plant foods and animal products. Apart from characteristics specific to vegetarian groups, the UK 'health-conscious' group shares with the UK general population a relatively high consumption of tea, sauces, cakes, soft drinks (women), margarine and butter. In contrast, the diet in the Nordic countries, The Netherlands, Germany and the UK general population is relatively high in potatoes and animal, processed and sweetened/refined foods, with proportions varying across countries/centres. In these countries, consumption of vegetables and fruit is similar to, or below, the overall EPIC means, and is low for legumes and vegetable oils. Overall, dietary patterns were similar for men and women, although there were large gender differences for certain food groups. CONCLUSIONS: There are considerable differences in food group consumption and dietary patterns among the EPIC study populations. This large heterogeneity should be an advantage when investigating the relationship between diet and cancer and formulating new aetiological hypotheses related to dietary patterns and disease.
OBJECTIVE: Smoking serves different functions for men and women. Thus, we wanted to investigate the association between smoking behaviour and intakes of selected healthy foods in men and women with special focus on differences and similarities between the two genders. DESIGN: In 1993-1997, a random sample of 80 996 men and 79 729 women aged 50-64 y was invited to participate in the study 'Diet, Cancer and Health'. In all, 27 179 men and 29 876 women attended a health examination and completed a 192-item food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). The association between smoking status and low, median and high intakes of selected foods was examined among 25 821 men and 28 596 women. SETTING: The greater Copenhagen and Aarhus area, Denmark. RESULTS: For both men and women, smoking status group was associated with diet, such that increasing level of smoking status ranging from never smokers over ex-smokers to currently heavy smokers was associated with a lower intake of the healthy foods: fresh fruit, cooked vegetables, raw vegetables/salad, and olive oil. For wine, increasing level of smoking status category was associated with a higher fraction of abstainers and heavy drinkers. The difference between the extreme smoking status categories was larger than the difference between men and women within smoking status categories such that never smoking men in general had a higher intake of healthy foods than heavy smoking women. Correction for age, educational level, and body mass index (BMI) did not affect the results. CONCLUSION: In this middle-aged population, intake of healthy foods were associated with smoking behaviour with a dose-response type of relationship. The overall pattern was similar for men and women.
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.
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.
The aim of this study was to compare the quantities of alcohol and types of alcoholic beverages consumed, and the timing of consumption, in centres participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). These centres, in 10 European countries, are characterised by widely differing drinking habits and frequencies of alcohol-related diseases.
We collected a single standardised 24-hour dietary recall per subject from a random sample of the EPIC cohort (36 900 persons initially and 35 955 after exclusion of subjects under 35 and over 74 years of age). This provided detailed information on the distribution of alcohol consumption during the day in relation to main meals, and was used to determine weekly consumption patterns. The crude and adjusted (by age, day of week and season) means of total ethanol consumption and consumption according to type of beverage were stratified by centre and sex.
Sex was a strong determinant of drinking patterns in all 10 countries. The highest total alcohol consumption was observed in the Spanish centres (San Sebastian, 41.4 g day-1) for men and in Danish centres (Copenhagen, 20.9 g day-1) for women. The lowest total alcohol intake was in the Swedish centres (Umeå, 10.2 g day-1) in men and in Greek women (3.4 g day-1). Among men, the main contributor to total alcohol intake was wine in Mediterranean countries and beer in the Dutch, German, Swedish and Danish centres. In most centres, the main source of alcohol for women was wine except for Murcia (Spain), where it was beer. Alcohol consumption, particularly by women, increased markedly during the weekend in nearly all centres. The German, Dutch, UK (general population) and Danish centres were characterised by the highest percentages of alcohol consumption outside mealtimes.
The large variation in drinking patterns among the EPIC centres provides an opportunity to better understand the relationship between alcohol and alcohol-related diseases.
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.