Comparison of standardised dietary folate intake across ten countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Folate plays an important role in the synthesis and methylation of DNA as a cofactor in one-carbon metabolism. Inadequate folate intake has been linked to adverse health events. However, comparable information on dietary folate intake across European countries has never been reported. The objective of the present study was to describe the dietary folate intake and its food sources in ten countries in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. A cross-sectional analysis was conducted in 36 034 participants (aged 35-74 years) who completed a single 24 h dietary recall using a computerised interview software program, EPIC-Soft (R) (International Agency for Research on Cancer, Lyon). Dietary folate intake was estimated using the standardised EPIC Nutrient DataBase, adjusted for age, energy intake, weight and height and weighted by season and day of recall. Adjusted mean dietary folate intake in most centres ranged from 250 to 350 mu g/d in men and 200 to 300 mu g/d in women. Folate intake tended to be lower among current smokers and heavier alcohol drinkers and to increase with educational level, especially in women. Supplement users (any types) were likely to report higher dietary folate intake in most centres. Vegetables, cereals and fruits, nuts and seeds were the main contributors to folate intake. Nonetheless, the type and pattern of consumption of these main food items varied across the centres. These first comparisons of standardised dietary folate intakes across different European populations show moderate regional differences (except the UK health conscious group), and variation by sex, educational level, smoking and alcohol-drinking status, and supplement use.


  • Jin Young Park
  • Genevieve Nicolas
  • Heinz Freisling
  • Carine Biessy
  • Augustin Scalbert
  • Isabelle Romieu
  • Veronique Chajes
  • Shu-Chun Chuang
  • Martine M. Ros
  • Petra H. M. Peeters
  • Amalia Mattiello
  • Domenico Palli
  • Jose Maria Huerta
  • Pilar Amiano
  • Jytte Halkjaer
  • Christina C. Dahm
  • Antonia Trichopoulou
  • Philippos Orfanos
  • Birgit Teucher
  • Silke Feller
  • Guri Skeie
  • Dagrun Engeset
  • Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault
  • Francoise Clavel-Chapelon
  • Francesca Crowe
  • Kay-Tee Khaw
  • Paolo Vineis
  • Nadia Slimani
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Dietary folate intake, 24 h Dietary recall, European Prospective, Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, EPIC-Soft (R), Europe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552-569
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch

Total downloads

No data available