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.
Background/Objectives:The aim of this study was to evaluate the estimated energy, nutrient and food intake from the suggested trans-European methodology for undertaking representative dietary surveys among schoolchildren: 2 × 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) combined with a food-recording booklet (FRB), using EPIC-Soft pc-program (the software developed to conduct 24-HDRs in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study), against a 7-day food-record (7-dFR) method among Danish schoolchildren.Subjects/Methods:A total of 74 children aged 7-8 years and 70 children aged 12-13 years were recruited through the Civil Registration System in Denmark. Each child and one of their parents completed two face-to-face 24-HDRs, combined with optional use of a FRB, followed by a 7-day-estimated FR.Results:Energy intake was significantly higher with the 24-HDR method than with the 7-dFR method for both age groups. Mean energy intake was 6% higher for the youngest (P=0.02) and 11% for the oldest children (P=0.01); underreporting of energy occurs among the oldest children, being less present with the 24-HDR method. The intakes of carbohydrate and dietary fiber (absolute and related to energy) were significantly higher with the 24-HDR than with the 7-dFR for both age groups (P
Background/Objectives:The aim of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of the suggested trans-European methodology for undertaking representative dietary surveys among schoolchildren: 2 × 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) combined with a food-recording booklet, using EPIC-Soft (the software developed to conduct 24-HDRs in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) pc-program.Subjects/Methods:A total of 75 children aged 7-8 years and 70 children aged 12-13 years old were recruited through the Civil Registration System in Denmark, and 57 children aged 7-8 years and 47 children aged 12-13 years were recruited through schools in Spain. Each child with one parent completed two face-to-face 24-HDRs, combined with optional use of a food-recording booklet (FRB) to be filled in by the child, a parent or other proxy persons for preparing the recalls. Feasibility was evaluated by questionnaires completed by parents, children and interviewers, and by selected data from the 24-HDRs.Results:The face-to-face interviews with the child and a parent together are confirmed as feasible. The children participated actively in the interviews, the oldest children being most active. The children, parents and interviewers agreed that children needed help from the parents, and that parents were of help to the child. In both countries, other proxy persons, such as teachers or the school cafeteria staff, were involved before the interview, and the majority of the parents and children reported that the FRB had been a help for the child during the interview. Further results point at specific needed improvements of the tools.Conclusions:The evaluated method is shown feasible in two culturally diverse European populations. However, the feasibility study also points to specific improvements of tools and data collection protocol that are strongly recommended before implementation of the method in each country of a pan-European dietary survey.
Background/Objectives:This study evaluates the feasibility among preschoolers of the 2 × 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) method combined with a food-recording booklet (FRB), using EPIC-Soft pc-program for the 24-HDR (the software developed to conduct 24-HDRs in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study).Subjects/Methods:A total of 20 and 25 (4- to 5-year-old) children were recruited, as a convenience sample, through worksites or day or healthcare in Denmark and Spain, respectively. One parent (or both parents together) completed two face-to-face 24-HDR, combined with an optional use of a FRB. Feasibility was evaluated by evaluation questionnaires completed by parents and interviewers.Results:The face-to-face interviews were primarily conducted with the mothers. The FRB was used by 90% of the participants, and proxy persons, other than the parent, were also involved; involvement of proxy persons seems necessary in a majority of the recalls in both the countries.Conclusions:The results suggest that 2 × 24-HDR with one parent combined with a FRB is feasible for registering preschoolers' diet. An FRB and/or information from proxy persons, other than the parent, is needed for a majority of the parents. In future studies, it may be beneficial to develop the FRB more like a structured food record (FR), which might, in principle, change the method to a one-day FR method from more than a 24-HDR method. It is recommended then to further investigate the use of EPIC-Soft as a data-entry tool.
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.
Background/Objectives:The overall objective of the European Food Consumption Validation (EFCOVAL) Project was to further develop and validate a trans-European food consumption method to be used for the evaluation of the intake of foods, nutrients and potentially hazardous chemicals within the European population.Subjects/Methods:The EFCOVAL Project was carried out by 13 institutes from 11 European countries. The main activities were centered on the three main objectives of the project organized in different sub-projects.Results:In EFCOVAL, EPIC-Soft (the software developed to conduct 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) was reprogrammed and adapted according to prioritized specifications, resulting in a software program working under the Windows operating system. In parallel of the EPIC-Soft development, the repeated 24-HDR method using EPIC-Soft and a food propensity questionnaire was evaluated against biomarkers in 24-h urine collections and in blood samples among adults from Belgium, the Czech Republic, (the South of) France, the Netherlands and Norway. As a result from an expert workshop on a proposed dietary assessment method for children (4-12 years), the suggested method was tested in a feasibility study in Denmark and Spain among children of 4-5, 7-8 and 12-13 years. To ensure that collected data had sufficient detail in food description for the assessment of additives and contaminants to foods the EPIC-Soft databases were adapted. Finally, the EFCOVAL Consortium developed a statistical tool (Multiple Source Method) for estimating the usual intake and distribution, which has been tested using real food consumption data and compared with three other statistical methods through a simulation study. In addition, a methodology was developed to quantify uncertainty due to portion-size estimation in usual intake distributions.Conclusion:The findings of EFCOVAL provide sufficient evidence to conclude that the repeated 24-HDR using EPIC-Soft for standardization in combination with a food propensity questionnaire and modeling of usual intake is a suitable method for pan-European surveillance of nutritional adequacy and food safety among healthy adults and maybe in children aged 7 years and older.
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).
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.