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Food and Nutrient Intake, Anthropometric Measurements and Smoking according to Alcohol Consumption in the EPIC Heidelberg Study

Ruf T.a · Nagel G.a · Altenburg H.-P.a · Miller A.B.a · Thorand B.a, b
aGerman Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), Division of Clinical Epidemiology, Heidelberg, and bNational Research Centre for Environment and Health (GSF), Institute of Epidemiology, Neuherberg, Germany Ann Nutr Metab 2005;49:16–25 (DOI:10.1159/000084173)


Aims: The study was carried out to determine associations of reported alcohol intake with dietary habits, body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and smoking. Subjects and Methods: 24,894 subjects who participated in the baseline examination of the German part of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) in Heidelberg and were between 35 and 65 years of age at baseline were included in the present cross-sectional analysis (11,617 men, 13,277 women). Diet and alcohol consumption were assessed with a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Analysis of covariance with age as a covariate was used to analyse the association between alcohol intake and dietary consumption patterns, BMI, WHR and smoking. Results: Alcohol did not replace other food items, but was an addition to the diet. Among alcohol consumers, fat and protein intake as a percentage of energy was slightly higher and carbohydrate intake was slightly lower than among abstainers. Alcohol consumers had a lower intake of fruits, dairy products, cereal products, and added vegetable fat and a higher intake of animal products such as meat, fish, eggs and added animal fat than abstainers. The prevalence of current smoking showed a U-shaped relation to alcohol intake in men and women. In men, a U-shaped association was also seen between the prevalence of former smoking and alcohol intake, while the prevalence of former smoking increased linearly with alcohol intake in women. Conclusion: The results show that alcohol consumption is associated with dietary consumption patterns and smoking. Therefore, it will be important to consider dietary patterns and other lifestyle parameters when investigating the health effects of alcohol intake in the future.


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