EPIC working groups

The Obesity/PANACEA Working Group

Overweight (body mass index [BMI] of 25—30 kg/m2) and obesity (BMI of 30 kg/m2 or higher) are prevalent in industrialized countries, but rates are also increasing in developing countries. The Obesity/PANACEA Working Group studies risk factors for obesity, as well as relations between obesity and disease occurrence and mortality1.

PANACEA is the acronym for an European Commission funded project (no. 2005328; Dec 2006—Dec 2009) studying Physical Activity, Nutrition, Alcohol, Cessation of smoking, and Eating out of home in relation to Antropometry2. The ultimate aim is to identify new risk factors as well as to gain insight into the relative contributions of known risk factors in the 10 European countries participating in EPIC. PANACEA is the subcohort of EPIC where repeated assessments of weight are available, making it possible to study also weight changes, and in some countries also changes in abdominal obesity in relation to the occurrence of noncommunicable diseases3.

Other major activities of the Working Group involve genes and biomarkers of obesity and the risk prediction of obesity4,5.


Selected publications

  1. Pischon T et al. General and abdominal adiposity and risk of death in Europe. N Engl J Med. 2008 Nov 13;359(20):2105-20. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa0801891. Erratum in: N Engl J Med. 2010 Jun 24;362(25):2433. PMID: 19005195

  2. Vergnaud AC et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and prospective weight change in participants of the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition-Physical Activity, Nutrition, Alcohol, Cessation of Smoking, Eating Out of Home, and Obesity study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Jan;95(1):184-93. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.019968. Epub 2011 Dec 14. PubMed PMID: 22170373

  3. Steins Bisschop CN et al. Weight change later in life and colon and rectal cancer risk in participants in the EPIC-PANACEA study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2014 Jan;99(1):139-47. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.066530. Epub 2013 Nov 13. PMID: 24225355

  4. Aleksandrova K et al. Adiposity, mediating biomarkers and risk of colon cancer in the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study. Int J Cancer. 2014 Feb 1;134(3):612-21. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28368. Epub 2013 Aug 5. PMID: 23824948

  5. Steffen A et al. Development and validation of a risk score predicting substantial weight gain over 5 years in middle-aged European men and women. PLoS One. 2013 Jul 16;8(7):e67429. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067429. Print 2013. PMID: 23874419; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3713004

Contact details/Working Group leaders

Petra H. Peeters, MD, PhD
Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care
Department Clinical Epidemiology
University Medical Center Utrecht (UMCU), Utrecht
Str 6.131 PO Box 85500, 3508 GA Utrecht, Netherlands


Heiner Boeing, MSPH, PhD
German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke
Department of Epidemiology
Arthur Scheunert-Allee 114-116
14558 Nuthetal, Germany