Background/Objectives:A standardized methodology is important to enable consistent monitoring of dietary intake across European countries. For this reason, we evaluated the comparability of the assessment of usual food intake collected with two non-consecutive computerized 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) and a food propensity questionnaire (FPQ) among five European centers.Subjects/Methods:Two 24-HDRs using EPIC-Soft (the software developed to conduct 24-HDRs in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) were performed to determine fish, fruit and vegetable (FV) consumed by 600 adults in Belgium (BE), the Czech Republic (CZ), France (FR), the Netherlands (NL) and Norway (NO) in a validation study. An FPQ was used to identify non-consumers. Information from the 24-HDRs and FPQ were used to estimate individual usual food intake by the Multiple Source Method (MSM). Blood samples were drawn to determine fatty acids in phospholipids and serum carotenoids as biomarkers of fish, and FV intake, respectively.Results:The pooled correlation between usual fish intake and eicosapentaenoic acid plus docosahexaenoic acid in phospholipids was 0.19 in men and 0.31 in women (P for heterogeneity >0.50) and center-specific correlations ranged between 0.08 (CZ) and 0.28 (BE and NO) in men, and between 0.19 (BE) and 0.55 (FR) in women. For usual FV intake, the pooled correlation with serum carotenoids was 0.31 in men and 0.40 in women (P for heterogeneity >0.10); the center-specific correlations varied between 0.07 (NO) and 0.52 (FR) in men, and between 0.25 (NL) and 0.45 (NO) in women.Conclusion:Two standardized 24-HDRs using EPIC-Soft and an FPQ appeared to be appropriate to rank individuals according to their fish and FV intake in a comparable way among five European centers.
Food composition tables were studied from nine European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC): Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Great Britain, Italy, The Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. They were compared from the point view of availability, definition, analytical methods, and mode of expression of the nutrients of interest for EPIC, and it was seen that most of the nutrients in the tables are analysed and expressed in a compatible way. For some nutrients, however, common methods and definitions (folate, dietary fibre), or modes of expression (energy, protein, carbohydrates, carotenes, vitamin A and E) have not yet been agreed upon, so values are not comparable. For vitamin C a wide range of values are found due to the high natural variation in foods. For compiled tables, an additional problem is the use of several sources which may mean that the nutritional values are not comparable within the same table; and these values cannot be converted if the source is not stated. In addition, some tables were compiled using food composition values produced over 20 years ago with outdated analytical methods. In view of the inconsistent values for some nutrients and due to the large amount of foods reported within EPIC, it was concluded that standardised food composition tables have to be developed for the nine European countries involved in EPIC in order to provide comparable nutrient intake data.
OBJECTIVE: To compare food group intakes in grams, total energy and energy contribution from macronutrients between two random samples of women, using a standardized computer program (EPIC SOFT) with either a face-to-face or a telephone 24 h recall interview design. METHODS: Two groups of Norwegian women living in Tromsø were drawn at random from the Norwegian Women and Cancer Study (NOWAC) cohort. The EPIC SOFT computer program was used to conduct single 24 h dietary recalls either by telephone or face to face. For the latter, 160 women were invited, of whom 111 responded positively (crude response rate=69.4%) and 102 were interviewed. For the telephone option, 180 were invited to participate, 109 responded positively (crude response rate=60.6%) and 103 were interviewed. RESULTS: The two groups of women were similar with respect to age, body mass index, basal metabolic rate, smoking, education, physical activity and special diet status. No statistically significant difference in dietary intake was found between interviews conducted by telephone and face-to-face, except for 'egg and egg products' (P
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 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: 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.
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 evaluate the usefulness of a computerized 24 h diet recall programme (EPIC-SOFT) for pan-European dietary surveys. METHODS: The perspectives of using EPIC-SOFT in study contexts other than EPIC were evaluated. In order to estimate the usefulness of existing EPIC-SOFT material for developing new versions for non-EPIC countries, a comparison of food and recipe lists and portion pictures between a country participating in EPIC (Sweden, n=2311 foods, 140 photo series) and a non-EPIC country (Finland, FINDIET 1997 Study, n=1373 foods, 126 photo series) was performed. RESULTS: Despite certain limitations, the EPIC-SOFT programme is a promising tool for pan-European Dietary Surveys. About 12-17 man-months would be needed to develop a new version for a non-EPIC country, depending on the extra work required. A 95% coverage of food and mixed recipes was found between the EPIC-Sweden and FINDIET 1997 databases. Of the pictures in the Finnish portion size book, 62% had an equivalent in the EPIC-SOFT picture book, but the range and size of photo series was larger in the latter than in the former, especially for vegetables. A tendency was observed that, if the central serving in a given picture book was larger, the consumers in that country also reported a larger mean portion. CONCLUSIONS: This report shows that the EPIC-SOFT programme is already available for use in 11 European countries and could be extended easily to other countries if resources are made available. However, further developments are required to obtain standardized nutrient estimates and make the maintenance of the EPIC-SOFT databases independent from the EPIC logistics. The available EPIC-SOFT material would be useful for developing new versions for countries of similar food culture.