, Volume 3, Issue 1, pp 77-81

Eating frequency—a neglected risk factor for colon cancer?

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Eating frequency was examined in relation to risk of cancer of the colon and rectum in a population-based case-control study conducted in Stockholm, Sweden in 1986–88. In the present analysis, 328 cases and 500 controls were included. The adjusted relative risk (RR) of colon cancer per daily eating occasion was 1.2 (95 percent confidence interval [CI]=1.1–1.4, adjusted for year of birth, sex, intake of energy, fat, protein, and fiber, browning of meat surface, physical activity, and body mass index). The corresponding RR for rectal cancer was 1.0 (CI=0.9–1.2). The frequency of eating snacks was related to risk of colon cancer (RR per snack = 1.6, CI=1.2–1.9), while the frequency of eating meals (breakfast, lunch, or dinner) was not (RR per meal = 0.8, CI=0.6–1.1). The results are consistent with findings in two other case-control studies in which eating frequency was found to be a risk factor for colon cancer.

Dr Gerhardsson de Verdier is with the Department of Epidemiology, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, and the Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Dr Longnecker is with the Department of Epidemiology, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, USA. Address correspondence to Dr Gerhardsson de Verdier at the Institute of Environmental Medicine, Department of Epidemiology, Box 60208, S-104 01, Stockholm, Sweden. The study was supported by two grants (2228-B86-013XA; 2228-B87-02XA) from the Swedish National Cancer Society. Dr Longnecker is the recipient of a Junior Faculty Research Award from the American Cancer Society.