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Public Health Nutr. 2002 Dec;5(6B):1147-62.

Overweight, obesity and fat distribution in 50- to 64-year-old participants in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).

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Department of Epidemiology, German Institute of Human Nutrition, Arthur Scheunert Allee 114-116, D-14558 Potsdam-Rehbrücke, Germany.



To describe anthropometric characteristics of participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC).


A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of a European prospective cohort study.


This analysis includes study populations from 25 centres in nine European countries. The British populations comprised both a population-based and a 'health-conscious' group. The analysis was restricted to 83 178 men and 163 851 women aged 50-64 years, this group being represented in all centres.


Anthropometric examinations were undertaken by trained observers using standardised methods and included measurements of weight, height, and waist and hip circumferences. In the 'health-conscious' group (UK), anthropometric measures were predicted from self-reports.


Except in the 'health-conscious' group (UK) and in the French centres, mean body mass index (BMI) exceeded 25.0 kg m-2. The prevalence of obesity (BMI> or =30 kg m(-2)) varied from 8% to 40% in men, and from 5% to 53% in women, with high prevalences (>25%) in the centres from Spain, Greece, Ragusa and Naples (Italy) and the lowest prevalences (<10%) in the French centres and the 'health-conscious' group (UK). The prevalence of a large waist circumference or a high waist-to-hip ratio was high in centres from Spain, Greece, Ragusa and Naples (Italy) and among women from centres in Germany and Bilthoven (The Netherlands).


Anthropometric measures varied considerably within the EPIC population. These data provide a strong base for further investigation of anthropometric measures in relation to the risk of chronic diseases, especially cancer.

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