The general objective of this EURONUT EC Concerted Action is to study the interrelationship of diet in health and disease as Europe offers large variations in both dietary patterns and in morbidity and mortality patterns.
The EURONUT European Community (EC) concerted action studies the interrelationship of diet in health and disease as Europe offers large variations in both dietary patterns and in morbidity and mortality patterns.
Nutrition and the elderly in Europe:
Data regarding nutrient and food intakes, diet habits, diet awareness, nutritional status, health and lifestyle factors were collected and partially presented. There was considerable variability from site to site (even within countries) in dietary intake, in both quantity and composition; blood biochemistries; lifestyle factors; health; and performance. Implications of the observed wide variability will be studied longitudinally.
Surveillance of dietary habits with regard to cardiovascular disease:
Despite sometimes great cultural differences all participating countries, with the exception of China on some points, show a nutrient intake which is largely deviating from a diet recommended for the prevention of chronic disease: rather high in energy, high in total fat, saturated fat and cholesterol and relatively low in complex carbohydrates.
Nutrition, body fat distribution and health risks:
Indicators of fat distribution were related to cardiovascular risk factors, usually independent of body mass index. The clearest associations were observed for waist circumference and waist thigh ratio on the one hand and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and triglycerides and insulin levels on the other. In women increased abdominal fat mass is associated with increased androgenicity but this was less clear in men. Gender differences in fat distribution may be responsible for the differences in HDL cholesterol and serum triglycerides between men and women.
The growth and development of children:
The study involves the development and execution of a longitudinal study in children aged 0 to 3 years. In this concerted action the methodological basis for this study was discussed, developed and tried out.
Since 1982 a European Community Concerted Action on Nutrition and Health has been pursued among European countries. This action was initiated by the Commission of the European Communities and was supervised by the EC/DG XII Committees on Epidemiology (COMAC-EPID) and Bio-Medical and Health Research.
Prompted by the greying of the European Society, and the necessity to maintain good health and performance at older age with nutrition as an important contributing factor, the Project Management Group of EURONUT in 1986 decided to embark on a study of nutritional problems and needs that older people experience. In 1987 and 1988 several meetings were held to develop a common protocol and to discuss the design of the study, selection of participants, data collection and the standardization of procedures. All details have been described in one of the EURONUT reports. In 1988 the European-wide multicenter study, named EURONUT-SENECA, was started to explore cross-cultural differences in nutritional issues, life-style factors, health and performance of European elderly people. At present, EURONUT-SENECA provides baseline data necessary for the appraisal of the nutrition and health situation of elderly people in Europe. It also provides a solid base for longitudinal study in which specific hypotheses of healthy aging can be tested.
This EURONUT EC Concerted Action has given specific attention to the following four concerted action sub-programmes:
A) Nutrition and the Elderly in Europe: EURONUT-SENECA;
B) Surveillance of Dietary Habits with regard to Cardiovascular Diseases: MONICA-WHO-EURONUT;
C) Nutrition, Body Fat Distribution and Health Risks: The European Fat Distribution Study - EURONUT;
D) The Growth and Development of Children: EURONUT-Growth Study.