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Consumption of vegetables, fruit and other plant foods in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) cohorts from 10 European countries

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2007

A Agudo*
Department of Epidemiology, Catalan Institute of Oncology (ICO), 08907 L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain
N Slimani
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
MC Ocké
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
A Naska
School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece
AB Miller
German Cancer Research Centre, Heidelberg, Germany
A Kroke
German Institute of Human Nutrition, Postdam-Rehbrücke, Germany
C Bamia
School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece
D Karalis
School of Medicine, University of Athens, Greece
P Vineis
Cancer Epidemiology Unit, University of Turin, Italy
D Palli
Molecular and Nutritional Epidemiology Unit, CSPO, Scientific Institute of Tuscany, Florence, Italy
HB Bueno-de-Mesquita
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, The Netherlands
PHM Peeters
Julius Center for General Practice and Patient Oriented Research, University of Utrecht, The Netherlands
D Engeset
Institute of Community Medicine, University of Tromsø, Norway
A Hjartåker
Institute for Basic Medical Sciences, Oslo, Norway
C Navarro
Department of Epidemiology, Health Council of Murcia, Spain
C Martínez Garcia
Andalusian School of Public Health, Granada, Spain
P Wallström
Department of Medicine, Lund University, Malmö University Hospital, Sweden
JX Zhang
Nutritional Research, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, University of Umeå, Sweden
AA Welch
Institute of Public Health, School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge, UK
E Spencer
Cancer Research UK, Epidemiology Unit, University of Oxford, UK
C Stripp
Institute of Cancer Epidemiology, Danish Cancer Society, Copenhagen, Denmark
K Overvad
Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine, University of Aarhus, Denmark
F Clavel-Chapelon
INSERM, U521, Institute Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France
C Casagrande
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
E Riboli
International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon, France
*Corresponding author: Email
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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.

Research Article
Copyright © CABI Publishing 2002


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