Objective: To determine and describe the extent to which European dietary data collected in disparate surveys can be meaningfully compared, Design: Seven independent population-based surveys from six European countries were initially included. Differences in study designs and methodological approaches were examined. Risk factor data for 31,289 adults aged 40-59 y were harmonized and pooled in a common, centralized database. Results: Direct comparisons of dietary measures across studies were not deemed appropriate due to methodological heterogeneity. Nonetheless, comparisons of intra-population contrasts by gender across sites were considered valid. Women consumed fruit and vegetables more often than men. Age-standardized gender differences in the prevalence of low fruit and vegetable consumption ranged from 7 to 18% and 5 to 15%, respectively. Data on energy intake showed good agreement across study populations. The proportion of total energy from macronutrients was similar for women and men. Gender differences for relative intakes of saturated fatty acids (percentage energy) were small and only in France were they significant. Dietary fibre density was significantly higher in women than in men, Overall, the participating Southern European populations from Italy and Spain exhibited more healthful food composition patterns. Conclusions: Contrasts in dietary patterns by gender across populations may provide the basis for health promotion campaigns. The most favourable patterns observed may serve as attainable goals for other populations. An international risk factor surveillance programme based upon locally run, good quality studies has the potential to provide the needed data.
|Journal||European Journal of Clinical Nutrition|
|Publication status||Published (in print/issue) - Mar 2000|