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

  • 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
  • Heléne Bertéus Forslund
Publishing year: 2019
Language: English
Pages: 324-335
Publication/Series: Public Health Nutrition
Volume: 22
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

Abstract english

ObjectiveTo examine timing of eating across ten European countries.DesignCross-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.SettingTen Western European countries.SubjectsIn total, 22 985 women and 13 035 men aged 35-74 years (n 36 020).ResultsA 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).ConclusionsWe 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.


  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • 24 h diet recall
  • Chrono-nutrition
  • Diurnal eating
  • EPIC
  • Meal patterns
  • Meals
  • Snacks
  • Standardization


  • Nutrition Epidemiology
  • Diabetes - Cardiovascular Disease
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
Emily Sonestedt
E-mail: emily [dot] sonestedt [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se

Associate senior lecturer

Nutrition Epidemiology

+46 40 39 13 25

+46 73 700 71 45


Jan Waldenströms gata 35, CRC 60:13, Malmö


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