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.
OBJECTIVE: To identify different dietary patterns in Norway using a combination of cluster and factor analysis. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study. SETTING: Nation-wide, population-based study. SUBJECTS: The Norwegian EPIC cohort is a subcohort of the Norwegian Women and Cancer study (NOWAC), and consist 37.226 women aged 41-56 y who answered a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) in 1998. INTERVENTIONS: The associations among 50 food variables were first investigated by using principal component analysis. Five important factors were found. The five principal components were then used as input in the cluster analysis. Different socioeconomic and lifestyle variables were examined. RESULTS: Six clusters of dietary patterns were found, and were labelled accordingly: 'traditional fish eaters', 'healthy eaters', 'average, less fish, less healthy', 'Western', 'traditional bread eaters', and 'alcohol users'. The traditional fish eaters and the traditional bread eaters were both highly represented in the north and west of Norway and were more likely to be present among persons with lower income and lower education. The healthy and the alcohol drinkers were found mostly in the south and east and were more likely to have higher income. Persons in the alcohol group were more likely to be current smokers. The western group had the highest percentage of three or more persons in the household and the shortest time since last birth, indicating that families with children dominate this group. CONCLUSION: Our data indicate six different dietary patterns in Norway, each with different socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics. SPONSORSHIP: The Norwegian Cancer Society (E 04038/006).
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.
OBJECTIVES: Despite increasing interest in the concept of calibration in dietary surveys, there is still little experience in the use and standardization of a common reference dietary method, especially in international studies. In this paper, we present the general theoretical framework and the approaches developed to standardize the computer-assisted 24 h diet recall method (EPIC-SOFT) used to collect about 37 000 24-h dietary recall measurements (24-HDR) from the 10 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). In addition, an analysis of variance was performed to examine the level of standardization of EPIC-SOFT across the 90 interviewers involved in the study. METHODS: The analysis of variance used a random effects model in which mean energy intake per interviewer was used as the dependent variable, while age, body mass index (BMI), energy requirement, week day, season, special diet, special day, physical activity and the EPIC-SOFT version were used as independent variables. The analysis was performed separately for men and women. RESULTS: The results show no statistical difference between interviewers in all countries for men and five out of eight countries for women, after adjustment for physical activity and the EPIC-SOFT program version used, and the exclusion of one interviewer in Germany (for men), and one in Denmark (for women). These results showed an interviewer effect in certain countries and a significant difference between gender, suggesting an underlying respondent's effect due to the higher under-reporting among women that was consistently observed in EPIC. However, the actual difference between interviewer and country mean energy intakes is about 10%. Furthermore, no statistical differences in mean energy intakes were observed across centres from the same country, except in Italy and Germany for men, and France and Spain for women, where the populations were recruited from areas scattered throughout the countries. CONCLUSION: Despite these encouraging results and the efforts to standardize the 24-HDR interview method, conscious or unconscious behaviour of respondents and/or interviewer bias cannot be prevented entirely. Further evaluation of the reliability of EPIC-SOFT measurements will be conducted through validation against independent biological markers (nitrogen, potassium).