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Timing of eating across ten European countries - results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study.

Journal article
Authors Ena Huseinovic
Anna Winkvist
Heinz Freisling
Nadia Slimani
Heiner Boeing
Genevieve Buckland
Lukas Schwingshackl
Anja Olsen
Anne Tjønneland
Magdalena Stepien
Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault
Francesca Mancini
Fanny Artaud
Tilman Kühn
Verena Katzke
Antonia Trichopoulou
Androniki Naska
Philippos Orfanos
Rosario Tumino
Giovanna Masala
Vittorio Krogh
Maria Santucci de Magistris
Marga C Ocké
Magritt Brustad
Torill Enget Jensen
Guri Skeie
Miguel Rodríguez-Barranco
José María Huerta
Eva Ardanaz
José Ramón Quirós
Paula Jakszyn
Emily Sonestedt
Ulrika Ericson
Maria Wennberg
Timothy J Key
Dagfinn Aune
Elio Riboli
Elisabete Weiderpass
Published in Public health nutrition
Volume 22
Issue 2
Pages 324-335
ISSN 1475-2727
Publication year 2019
Published at Institute of Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Nutrition
Pages 324-335
Language en
Subject categories Nutrition and Dietetics, Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


To examine timing of eating across ten European countries.Cross-sectional analysis of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) calibration study using standardized 24 h diet recalls collected during 1995-2000. Eleven predefined food consumption occasions were assessed during the recall interview. We present time of consumption of meals and snacks as well as the later:earlier energy intake ratio, with earlier and later intakes defined as 06.00-14.00 and 15.00-24.00 hours, respectively. Type III tests were used to examine associations of sociodemographic, lifestyle and health variables with timing of energy intake.Ten Western European countries.In total, 22 985 women and 13 035 men aged 35-74 years (n 36 020).A south-north gradient was observed for timing of eating, with later consumption of meals and snacks in Mediterranean countries compared with Central and Northern European countries. However, the energy load was reversed, with the later:earlier energy intake ratio ranging from 0·68 (France) to 1·39 (Norway) among women, and from 0·71 (Greece) to 1·35 (the Netherlands) among men. Among women, country, age, education, marital status, smoking, day of recall and season were all independently associated with timing of energy intake (all P<0·05). Among men, the corresponding variables were country, age, education, smoking, physical activity, BMI and day of recall (all P<0·05).We found pronounced differences in timing of eating across Europe, with later meal timetables but greater energy load earlier during the day in Mediterranean countries compared with Central and Northern European countries.

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