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BackgroundDietary factors such as low energy density and low glycemic index were associated with a lower gain in abdominal adiposity. A better understanding of which food groups/items contribute to these associations is necessary.ObjectiveTo ascertain the association of food groups/items consumption on prospective annual changes in "waist circumference for a given BMI" (WC(BMI)), a proxy for abdominal adiposity.DesignWe analyzed data from 48,631 men and women from 5 countries participating in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) study. Anthropometric measurements were obtained at baseline and after a median follow-up time of 5.5 years. WC(BMI) was defined as the residuals of waist circumference regressed on BMI, and annual change in WC(BMI) (ΔWC(BMI), cm/y) was defined as the difference between residuals at follow-up and baseline, divided by follow-up time. The association between food groups/items and ΔWC(BMI) was modelled using centre-specific adjusted linear regression, and random-effects meta-analyses to obtain pooled estimates.ResultsHigher fruit and dairy products consumption was associated with a lower gain in WC(BMI) whereas the consumption of white bread, processed meat, margarine, and soft drinks was positively associated with ΔWC(BMI). When these six food groups/items were analyzed in combination using a summary score, those in the highest quartile of the score--indicating a more favourable dietary pattern--showed a ΔWC(BMI) of -0.11 (95% CI -0.09 to -0.14) cm/y compared to those in the lowest quartile.ConclusionA dietary pattern high in fruit and dairy and low in white bread, processed meat, margarine, and soft drinks may help to prevent abdominal fat accumulation.

Original publication




Journal article


PloS one

Publication Date





Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Imperial College London, United Kingdom.


Humans, Fruit, Body Mass Index, Diet, Linear Models, Body Composition, Glycemic Index, Food, Dairy Products, Meat, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Denmark, Female, Male, Abdominal Fat, Adiposity, Waist Circumference, United Kingdom