[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose:
We aimed (1) to describe and evaluate the "EPIC-Soft DataEntry" application developed as a user-friendly data entry tool for pan-European and national food consumption surveys among infants and children, and (2) to compare two food record-based dietary assessment methods in terms of food description and quantification using data quality indicators. EPIC-Soft DataEntry was used for both methods.
Two pilot studies were performed in both Belgium and Czech Republic in a total of 376 children (3 months to 10 year olds): one using a consecutive 3-day food diary; and the second with two non-consecutive 1-day food diaries with data entry during a completion interview. The collected dietary data were compared between the two dietary assessment methods by country and by age groups: (i) <1 year; (ii) 1-3 years; (iii) >3-10 years.
Overall, 70% of the interviewers evaluated the work with EPIC-Soft DataEntry as easy. With both dietary assessment methods, an equally high proportion of specific food names (e.g., "yoghurt, strawberry") were reported, where only between 5 and 15% of foods were non-specified (e.g., "yoghurt, n.s."). The two 1-day food diaries yielded a higher proportion of foods with detailed description. For example, in the age category of 1-3 year olds in Belgium, for 7 out of 16 systematic questions on food description (e.g., "preservation method,") specific answers were significantly higher (all P < 0.03). The proportion of missing quantities of consumed foods was comparable between the two methods.
The EPIC-Soft DataEntry application was positively evaluated by the majority of the interviewers. Two non-consecutive 1-day food diaries with data entry during a completion interview provide a more detailed description of consumed foods as compared with a 3-day food diary.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · European Journal of Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The interview-administered 24 h dietary recall (24-HDR) EPIC-Soft® has a series of controls to guarantee the quality of dietary data across countries. These comprise all steps that are part of fieldwork preparation, data collection and data management; however, a complete characterisation of these quality controls is still lacking. The present paper describes in detail the quality controls applied in EPIC-Soft, which are, to a large extent, built on the basis of the EPIC-Soft error model and are present in three phases: (1) before, (2) during and (3) after the 24-HDR interviews. Quality controls for consistency and harmonisation are implemented before the interviews while preparing the seventy databases constituting an EPIC-Soft version (e.g. pre-defined and coded foods and recipes). During the interviews, EPIC-Soft uses a cognitive approach by helping the respondent to recall the dietary intake information in a stepwise manner and includes controls for consistency (e.g. probing questions) as well as for completeness of the collected data (e.g. system calculation for some unknown amounts). After the interviews, a series of controls can be applied by dietitians and data managers to further guarantee data quality. For example, the interview-specific 'note files' that were created to track any problems or missing information during the interviews can be checked to clarify the information initially provided. Overall, the quality controls employed in the EPIC-Soft methodology are not always perceivable, but prove to be of assistance for its overall standardisation and possibly for the accuracy of the collected data.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2013 · The British journal of nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To improve participation rate, accuracy and respondents' compliance, it is important to know the respondents' viewpoint.
To evaluate respondents' preferences and perception about the EPIC-Soft (the software developed to conduct 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) 24-HDR interviews and to compare these preferences and perception between population groups (for example, between genders).
Data were collected in Belgium, Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands and Norway in 2007. Two 24-HDRs (face-to-face and telephone administered) were conducted using EPIC-Soft. An evaluation questionnaire on different study aspects was completed by the respondents.
Data were collected in the European Food Consumption Validation Study.
A convenience sample of 600 apparently healthy men and women, 45-65 years old and including all educational levels, were recruited (120 subjects per country). Differences among population groups were compared by means of the χ (2)-test.
A total of 585 respondents completed the evaluation questionnaire. In all, 88% experienced problems only to a low degree when answering face-to-face and telephone-administered 24-HDR using EPIC-Soft. A total of 15% would have preferred help of another person during the face-to-face interview in the study center (mainly men: P < 0.001). Significantly, more subjects in the Netherlands and in Norway preferred two telephone (instead of face-to-face) interviews compared with the other countries (P<0.001).
Most subjects only experienced problems to a low degree during the EPIC-Soft interviews. Differences in preferences and capabilities to answer the EPIC-Soft interviews were identified between population groups (for example, gender differences). Therefore, the methods and the design to be used in a survey should be adapted according to the study population, so as to optimize response rate and compliance.
No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · European journal of clinical nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The EPIC-Soft 24-h recall (the software developed to conduct 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) has been used in several regional/national dietary monitoring surveys. The main objective of the study was to present and discuss design, settings, logistics, data management and quality controls of dietary monitoring surveys that used EPIC-Soft for the collection of food consumption data.
Within European Food Consumption Validation (EFCOVAL), a questionnaire including questions on current/past EPIC-Soft experiences and requirements for the future was developed and sent to all institutes that used EPIC-Soft in their food consumption survey(s) (five surveys in four different countries).
EPIC-Soft was used in the national food consumption survey in Belgium (≥ 15-97 years), Germany (14-80 years), the Netherlands (19-30 years and 2-6 years) and Spain (regional only; 4-18 years). Participation rates in these surveys were 46% (Belgium), 42% (Germany), 42% (Dutch survey in adults), 79% (Dutch survey in children) and 77% (Basque survey). Two 24-HDRs were collected by conducting face-to-face interviews in Belgium and Spain, and through telephone interviews in Germany and the Netherlands. Except the Netherlands (19-30 years), where the study was conducted only in autumn, in all other countries the study was conducted throughout the four seasons, including all days of the week. Interviews were conducted by dietitians, except in Germany and Spain. Mean EPIC-Soft interview time was 20-34 min. The dropout rate between the first and second interviews was low (<7.5%) in all surveys.
EPIC-Soft has been used in different study settings and populations for nutritional exposure assessments. To guarantee the comparability of data across countries, recommendations for the design of future pan-European dietary monitoring surveys using EPIC-Soft should be drawn.
No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · European journal of clinical nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe the strengths, limitations and requirements of using EPIC-Soft software (the software developed to conduct 24-h dietary recalls in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) in pan-European food consumption surveys, and to discuss potentials and barriers for a harmonized pan-European food consumption survey.
The paper is based on the experiences in the 'European Food Consumption and Validation' Project, which included updating six existing and preparing one new country-specific EPIC-Soft version, applying EPIC-Soft in validation and feasibility studies, and estimating the intake of nutrients and flavoring substances. The experiences were discussed in the September 2009 workshop 'Pan-European Food Consumption Surveys--for Standardized and Comparable Transnational Data Collection'.
EPIC-Soft is suitable for detailed and standardized food consumption data collection in pan-European food consumption surveys. A thorough preparation of all aspects of the food consumption survey is important for the quality and efficiency during data collection and processing. The preparation and data-handling phase of working with EPIC-Soft is labor intensive and requires trained, motivated and qualified personnel.
Given the suitability of EPIC-Soft as standardized dietary assessment tool in European dietary monitoring, the proposed strategy toward a pan-European food consumption survey is to prepare well, to allow flexibility in national extensions and to start with a limited number of countries that are interested.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · European journal of clinical nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The EPIC-Soft program (the software initially developed to conduct 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRs) in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) Study) was recommended as the best way to standardize 24-HDRs for future pan-European dietary monitoring. Within European Food Consumption Validation (EFCOVAL), EPIC-Soft was adapted and further developed on various aspects that were required to optimize its use. In this paper, we present the structure and main interview steps of the EPIC-Soft program, after implementation of a series of new specifications deemed to satisfy specific requirements of pan-European monitoring surveys and other international studies.
Updates to optimize the EPIC-Soft program were ascertained according to the following stepwise approach: (1) identification of requested specifications to be potentially implemented through an ad hoc 'EPIC-Soft specifications questionnaire' sent to past, current and possible future users of the software; (2) evaluation of the specifications in collaboration with two ad hoc task force groups and through a workshop; (3) development of a technical solution for each retained specification; (4) implementation of the specifications by software developers; (5) testing and amendment of bugs.
A number of new specifications and facilities were implemented to EPIC-Soft program. In addition, the software underwent a full reprogramming and migration to a modern Windows environment, including changes in its internal architecture and user interface. Although the overall concept and structure of the initial software were not changed substantially, these improvements ease the current and future use of EPIC-Soft and increase further its adaptation to other countries and study contexts.
EPIC-Soft is enriched with further functions and facilities expected to fulfil specific needs of pan-European dietary monitoring and risk assessment purposes. The validity, feasibility and relevance of this software for different national and international study designs, and the logistical aspects related to its implementation are reported elsewhere.
No preview · Article · Jul 2011 · European journal of clinical nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Until recently, the study of nutrient patterns was hampered at an international level by a lack of standardization of both dietary methods and nutrient databases. We aimed to describe the diversity of nutrient patterns in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study at population level as a starting point for future nutrient pattern analyses and their associations with chronic diseases in multi-center studies. In this cross-sectional study, 36,034 persons aged 35-74 y were administered a single, standardized 24-h dietary recall. Intake of 25 nutrients (excluding intake from dietary supplements) was estimated using a standardized nutrient database. We used a graphic presentation of mean nutrient intakes by region and sex relative to the overall EPIC means to contrast patterns within and between 10 European countries. In Mediterranean regions, including Greece, Italy, and the southern centers of Spain, the nutrient pattern was dominated by relatively high intakes of vitamin E and monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA), whereas intakes of retinol and vitamin D were relatively low. In contrast, in Nordic countries, including Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, reported intake of these same nutrients resulted in almost the opposite pattern. Population groups in Germany, The Netherlands, and the UK shared a fatty acid pattern of relatively high intakes of PUFA and SFA and relatively low intakes of MUFA, in combination with a relatively high intake of sugar. We confirmed large variability in nutrient intakes across the EPIC study populations and identified 3 main region-specific patterns with a geographical gradient within and between European countries.
No preview · Article · Jul 2010 · Journal of Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe the contribution of highly processed foods to total diet, nutrient intakes and patterns among 27 redefined centres in the 10 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Single 24-hour dietary recalls were collected from 36,034 individuals (aged 35-74 years) using a standardized computerized interview programme (EPIC-SOFT). Centre-specific mean food intakes (g/day) were computed according to their degree of food processing (that is, highly, moderately and non-processed foods) using a specifically designed classification system. The contribution (%) of highly processed foods to the centre mean intakes of diet and 26 nutrients (including energy) was estimated using a standardized nutrient database (ENDB). The effect of different possible confounders was also investigated.
Highly processed foods were an important source of the nutrients considered, contributing between 61% (Spain) and 78-79% (the Netherlands and Germany) of mean energy intakes. Only two nutrients, beta-carotene (34-46%) and vitamin C (28-36%), had a contribution from highly processed foods below 50% in Nordic countries, in Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, whereas for the other nutrients, the contribution varied from 50 to 91% (excluding alcohol). In southern countries (Greece, Spain, Italy and France), the overall contribution of highly processed foods to nutrient intakes was lower and consisted largely of staple or basic foods (for example, bread, pasta/rice, milk, vegetable oils), whereas highly processed foods such as crisp bread, breakfast cereals, margarine and other commercial foods contributed more in Nordic and central European centres.
Highly industrially processed foods dominate diets and nutrient patterns in Nordic and central European countries. The greater variations observed within southern countries may reflect both a larger contribution of non/moderately processed staple foods along with a move from traditional to more industrialized dietary patterns.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · European journal of clinical nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dietary supplement use is increasing, but there are few comparable data on supplement intakes and how they affect the nutrition and health of European consumers. The aim of this study was to describe the use of dietary supplements in subsamples of the 10 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Specific questions on dietary supplement use were asked as a part of single 24-h recalls performed on 36,034 men and women aged 35-74 years from 1995 to 2000.
Between countries, the mean percentage of dietary supplement use varied almost 10-fold among women and even more among men. There was a clear north-south gradient in use, with a higher consumption in northern countries. The lowest crude mean percentage of use was found in Greece (2.0% among men, 6.7% among women), and the highest was in Denmark (51.0% among men, 65.8% among women). Use was higher in women than in men. Vitamins, minerals or combinations of them were the predominant types of supplements reported, but there were striking differences between countries.
This study indicates that there are wide variations in supplement use in Europe, which may affect individual and population nutrient intakes. The results underline the need to monitor consumption of dietary supplements in Europe, as well as to evaluate the risks and benefits.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2009 · European journal of clinical nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high consumption of fruit and vegetables is possibly associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). However, the findings to date are inconsistent.
We examined the relation between self-reported usual consumption of fruit and vegetables and the incidence of CRC.
In the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), 452,755 subjects (131,985 men and 320,770 women) completed a dietary questionnaire in 1992-2000 and were followed up for cancer incidence and mortality until 2006. A multivariate Cox proportional hazard model was used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs.
After an average follow-up of 8.8 y, 2,819 incident CRC cases were reported. Consumption of fruit and vegetables was inversely associated with CRC in a comparison of the highest with the lowest EPIC-wide quintile of consumption (HR: 0.86; 95% CI: 0.75, 1.00; P for trend = 0.04), particularly with colon cancer risk (HR: 0.76; 95% CI: 0.63, 0.91; P for trend < 0.01). Only after exclusion of the first 2 y of follow-up were these findings corroborated by calibrated continuous analyses for a 100-g increase in consumption: HRs of 0.95 (95% CI: 0.91, 1.00; P = 0.04) and 0.94 (95% CI: 0.89, 0.99; P = 0.02), respectively. The association between fruit and vegetable consumption and CRC risk was inverse in never and former smokers, but positive in current smokers. This modifying effect was found for fruit and vegetables combined and for vegetables alone (P for interaction < 0.01 for both).
These findings suggest that a high consumption of fruit and vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of CRC, especially of colon cancer. This effect may depend on smoking status.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper describes the ad hoc methodological concepts and procedures developed to improve the comparability of Nutrient databases (NDBs) across the 10 European countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). This was required because there is currently no European reference NDB available.
A large network involving national compilers, nutritionists and experts on food chemistry and computer science was set up for the 'EPIC Nutrient DataBase' (ENDB) project. A total of 550-1500 foods derived from about 37,000 standardized EPIC 24-h dietary recalls (24-HDRS) were matched as closely as possible to foods available in the 10 national NDBs. The resulting national data sets (NDS) were then successively documented, standardized and evaluated according to common guidelines and using a DataBase Management System specifically designed for this project. The nutrient values of foods unavailable or not readily available in NDSs were approximated by recipe calculation, weighted averaging or adjustment for weight changes and vitamin/mineral losses, using common algorithms.
The final ENDB contains about 550-1500 foods depending on the country and 26 common components. Each component value was documented and standardized for unit, mode of expression, definition and chemical method of analysis, as far as possible. Furthermore, the overall completeness of NDSs was improved (>or=99%), particularly for beta-carotene and vitamin E.
The ENDB constitutes a first real attempt to improve the comparability of NDBs across European countries. This methodological work will provide a useful tool for nutritional research as well as end-user recommendations to improve NDBs in the future.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2007 · European Journal of Clinical Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tree nuts, peanuts and seeds are nutrient dense foods whose intake has been shown to be associated with reduced risk of some chronic diseases. They are regularly consumed in European diets either as whole, in spreads or from hidden sources (e.g. commercial products). However, little is known about their intake profiles or differences in consumption between European countries or geographic regions. The objective of this study was to analyse the population mean intake and average portion sizes in subjects reporting intake of nuts and seeds consumed as whole, derived from hidden sources or from spreads. Data was obtained from standardised 24-hour dietary recalls collected from 36 994 subjects in 10 different countries that are part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC). Overall, for nuts and seeds consumed as whole, the percentage of subjects reporting intake on the day of the recall was: tree nuts = 4. 4%, peanuts = 2.3 % and seeds = 1.3 %. The data show a clear northern (Sweden: mean intake = 0.15 g/d, average portion size = 15.1 g/d) to southern (Spain: mean intake = 2.99 g/d, average portion size = 34.7 g/d) European gradient of whole tree nut intake. The three most popular tree nuts were walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, respectively. In general, tree nuts were more widely consumed than peanuts or seeds. In subjects reporting intake, men consumed a significantly higher average portion size of tree nuts (28.5 v. 23.1 g/d, P<0.01) and peanuts (46.1 v. 35.1 g/d, P<0.01) per day than women. These data may be useful in devising research initiatives and health policy strategies based on the intake of this food group.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2006 · British Journal Of Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To examine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) with serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and its binding protein (IGFBP)-3. DESIGN: Cross-sectional study on 2139 women participating in a case-control study on breast cancer and endogenous hormones. Data on lifestyle and reproductive factors were collected by means of questionnaires. Body height, weight, waist and hip circumferences were measured. Serum levels of IGF-I and insulin-like binding protein (IGFBP)-3 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Adjusted mean levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 across quintiles of BMI, waist circumference, and WHR were calculated by linear regression. Results were adjusted for potential confounders associated with IGF-I and IGFBP-3. RESULTS: Adjusted mean serum IGF-I values were lower in women with BMI<22.5 kg/m(2) or BMI>29.2 kg/m(2) compared to women with BMI within this range (P(heterogeneity)<0.0001, P(trend)=0.35). Insulin-like growth factor-I was not related to WHR after adjustment for BMI. IGF-binding protein-3 was linearly positively related to waist and WHR after mutual adjustment. The molar ratio IGF-I/IGFBP-3 had a non-linear relation with BMI and a linear inverse relationship with WHR (P (trend)=0.005). CONCLUSIONS: Our data confirm the nonlinear relationship of circulating IGF-I to total adiposity in women. Serum IGFBP-3 was positively related to central adiposity. These suggest that bioavailable IGF-I levels could be lower in obese compared to non-obese women and inversely related to central adiposity.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2006 · International Journal of Obesity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is considered that fruit and vegetable (F&V) protect against oesophagus and gastric cancer (GC). However, 2 recent meta-analyses suggest that the strength of association on GC seems to be weaker for vegetables than for fruit and weaker in cohort than in case-control studies. No evidence exists from cohort studies about adenocarcinoma of oesophagus (ACO). In 521,457 men and women participating in the EPIC cohort in 10 European countries, information of diet and lifestyle was collected at baseline. After an average of 6.5 years of follow-up, a total of 330 GC and 65 ACO, confirmed and classified by a panel of pathologists, was used for the analysis. We examined the relation between F&V intake and GC and ACO. A calibration study in a sub-sample was used to control diet measurement errors. In a sub-sample of cases and a random sample of controls, antibodies against Helicobacter pylori (Hp) were measured and interactions with F&V were examined in a nested case-control study. We observed no association with total vegetable intake or specific groups of vegetables and GC risk, except for the intestinal type, where a negative association is possible regarding total vegetable (calibrated HR 0.66; 95% CI 0.35-1.22 per 100 g increase) and onion and garlic intake (calibrated HR 0.70; 95% CI 0.38-1.29 per 10 g increase). No evidence of association between fresh fruit intake and GC risk was observed. We found a negative but non significant association between citrus fruit intake and the cardia site (calibrated HR 0.77; 95% CI 0.47-1.22 per 100 g increase) while no association was observed with the non-cardia site. Regarding ACO, we found a non significant negative association for vegetable intake and for citrus intake (calibrated HRs 0.72; 95% CI 0.32-1.64 and 0.77; 95% CI 0.46-1.28 per 100 and 50 g increase, respectively). It seems that Hp infection does not modify the effect of F&V intake. Our study supports a possible protective role of vegetable intake in the intestinal type of GC and the ACO. Citrus fruit consumption may have a role in the protection against cardia GC and ACO.
Full-text · Article · May 2006 · International Journal of Cancer
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective:
To examine the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratio (WHR) with serum levels of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and its binding protein (IGFBP)-3.
Cross-sectional study on 2139 women participating in a case-control study on breast cancer and endogenous hormones. Data on lifestyle and reproductive factors were collected by means of questionnaires. Body height, weight, waist and hip circumferences were measured. Serum levels of IGF-I and insulin-like binding protein (IGFBP)-3 were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. Adjusted mean levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 across quintiles of BMI, waist circumference, and WHR were calculated by linear regression. Results were adjusted for potential confounders associated with IGF-I and IGFBP-3.
Adjusted mean serum IGF-I values were lower in women with BMI<22.5 kg/m(2) or BMI>29.2 kg/m(2) compared to women with BMI within this range (P(heterogeneity)<0.0001, P(trend)=0.35). Insulin-like growth factor-I was not related to WHR after adjustment for BMI. IGF-binding protein-3 was linearly positively related to waist and WHR after mutual adjustment. The molar ratio IGF-I/IGFBP-3 had a non-linear relation with BMI and a linear inverse relationship with WHR (P (trend)=0.005).
Our data confirm the nonlinear relationship of circulating IGF-I to total adiposity in women. Serum IGFBP-3 was positively related to central adiposity. These suggest that bioavailable IGF-I levels could be lower in obese compared to non-obese women and inversely related to central adiposity.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2006 · International Journal of Obesity
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A link between unsaturated fatty acids or phytonutrients and reduced risk of colorectal cancer has been suggested. However, the effects of higher intake of dietary sources of these nutrients, such as the nuts and seeds food group, are less clear. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of nut and seed intake on colorectal cancer risk within the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study, a large prospective cohort study involving 10 European countries. Total nut and seed intake was determined from country-specific dietary questionnaires. The data set included 478,040 subjects (141,988 men, 336,052 women) with a total of 855 (327 men, 528 women) colon and 474 (215 men, 259 women) rectal cancer cases. A multivariate Cox proportional hazards model, stratified by center and controlled for fruit intake, dietary fiber, energy, height, weight, sex, age, physical activity, and smoking, was used. The data show no association between higher intake of nuts and seeds and risk of colorectal, colon, and rectal cancers in men and women combined, but a significant inverse association was observed in subgroup analyses for colon cancer in women at the highest (>6.2 g/d) versus the lowest (nonconsumers; hazard ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence interval, 0.50-0.95) category of intake and for the linear effect of log-transformed intake (hazard ratio, 0.89; 95% confidence interval, 0.80-0.98), with no associations in men. It is not evident from this data why there may be a stronger association in women or why it may be limited to the colon, suggesting that much further research is necessary.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2004 · Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), which covers a large cohort of half a million men and women from 23 European centres in 10 Western European countries, was designed to study the relationship between diet and the risk of chronic diseases, particularly cancer. Information on usual individual dietary intake was assessed using different validated dietary assessment methods across participating countries. In order to adjust for possible systematic over- or underestimation in dietary intake measurements and correct for attenuation bias in relative risk estimates, a calibration approach was developed. This approach involved an additional dietary assessment common across study populations to re-express individual dietary intakes according to the same reference scale. A single 24-hour diet recall was therefore collected, as the EPIC reference calibration method, from a stratified random sample of 36 900 subjects from the entire EPIC cohort, using a software program (EPIC-SOFT) specifically designed to standardise the dietary measurements across study populations. This paper describes the design and populations of the calibration sub-studies set up in the EPIC centres. In addition, to assess whether the calibration sub-samples were representative of the entire group of EPIC cohorts, a series of subjects' characteristics known possibly to influence dietary intakes was compared in both population groups. This was the first time that calibration sub-studies had been set up in a large multi-centre European study. These studies showed that, despite certain inherent methodological and logistic constraints, a study design such as this one works relatively well in practice. The average response in the calibration study was 78.3% and ranged from 46.5% to 92.5%. The calibration population differed slightly from the overall cohort but the differences were small for most characteristics and centres. The overall results suggest that, after adjustment for age, dietary intakes estimated from calibration samples can reasonably be interpreted as representative of the main cohorts in most of the EPIC centres.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2003 · Public Health Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) is an ongoing multi-centre prospective cohort study designed to investigate the relationship between nutrition and cancer, with the potential for studying other diseases as well. The study currently includes 519 978 participants (366 521 women and 153 457 men, mostly aged 35-70 years) in 23 centres located in 10 European countries, to be followed for cancer incidence and cause-specific mortality for several decades. At enrollment, which took place between 1992 and 2000 at each of the different centres, information was collected through a non-dietary questionnaire on lifestyle variables and through a dietary questionnaire addressing usual diet. Anthropometric measurements were performed and blood samples taken, from which plasma, serum, red cells and buffy coat fractions were separated and aliquoted for long-term storage, mostly in liquid nitrogen. To calibrate dietary measurements, a standardised, computer-assisted 24-hour dietary recall was implemented at each centre on stratified random samples of the participants, for a total of 36 900 subjects. EPIC represents the largest single resource available today world-wide for prospective investigations on the aetiology of cancers (and other diseases) that can integrate questionnaire data on lifestyle and diet, biomarkers of diet and of endogenous metabolism (e.g. hormones and growth factors) and genetic polymorphisms. First results of case-control studies nested within the cohort are expected early in 2003. The present paper provides a description of the EPIC study, with the aim of simplifying reference to it in future papers reporting substantive or methodological studies carried out in the EPIC cohort.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2003 · Public Health Nutrition
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe and compare the consumption of the main groups and sub-groups of vegetables and fruits (V&F) in men and women from the centres participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).
Cross-sectional analysis. Dietary intake was assessed by means of a 24-hour dietary recall using computerised interview software and standardised procedures. Crude and adjusted means were computed for the main groups and sub-groups of V&F by centre, separately for men and women. Adjusted means by season, day of the week and age were estimated using weights and covariance analysis.
Twenty-seven centres in 10 European countries participating in the EPIC project.
In total, 35 955 subjects (13 031 men and 22 924 women), aged 35-74 years, randomly selected from each EPIC cohort.
The centres from southern countries had the highest consumption of V&F, while the lowest intake was seen in The Netherlands and Scandinavia for both genders. These differences were more evident for fruits, particularly citrus. However, slightly different patterns arose for some sub-groups of vegetables, such as root vegetables and cabbage. Adjustment for body mass index, physical activity, smoking habits and education did not substantially modify the mean intakes of vegetables and fruits.
Total vegetable and fruit intake follows a south-north gradient in both genders, whereas for several sub-groups of vegetables a different geographic distribution exists. Differences in mean intake of V&F by centre were not explained by lifestyle factors associated with V&F intake.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2002 · Public Health Nutrition