Original Article

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2009) 63, 31–38; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602895; published online 26 September 2007

Whole-grain consumption, dietary fibre intake and body mass index in the Netherlands cohort study

Contributors: RAG and PAvdB were responsible for the study concept and design, and also for the acquisition of the data. LPLvdV, RAG and LMCvdB were responsible for the analysis and interpretation of data. LPLvdV and RAG drafted the manuscript. All authors took part in critical revision of the manuscript. Statistical expertise was provided by RAG. Funding was obtained by RAG and PAvdB.

L P L van de Vijver1,3, L M C van den Bosch1, P A van den Brandt2 and R A Goldbohm1,4

  1. 1Department of Food and Chemical Risk Analysis, TNO Quality of Life, Zeist, the Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands

Correspondence: Dr RA Goldbohm, Department of Prevention and Health, TNO Quality of Life, PO Box 3315, Leiden 2301 CE, the Netherlands. E-mail: sandra.bausch@tno.nl

3Current address: Louis Bolk Institute, Driebergen, the Netherlands.

4Current address: Department of Prevention and Health, TNO Quality of Life, Leiden, the Netherlands.

Received 4 August 2006; Revised 4 August 2007; Accepted 6 August 2007; Published online 26 September 2007.





To assess the association of whole-grain and (cereal) fibre intake with body mass index (BMI) and with the risk of being overweight (BMIgreater than or equal to25) or obese (BMIgreater than or equal to30kgm−2).



A total of 2078 men and 2159 women, aged 55–69 years, were included in the analysis, after exclusion of subjects with diagnosed cancer or deceased within 1 year after baseline or with missing dietary information.



We found an inverse association between whole-grain consumption and BMI and risk of overweight and obesity in men as well as women. The association in men was stronger than in women; the risk of being obese as compared to normal weight was 10% (95% CI: 2–16%) and 4% (95% CI: 1–7%) lower for each additional gram of (dry) grain consumption in men and women, respectively. Fibre and cereal fibre intake were inversely associated with BMI in men only. Associations were similar after exclusion of likely under- and overreporters of energy. A retrospective analysis of baseline fibre intake and weight gain after the age of 20 years also showed a slight inverse association.



Whole-grain consumption may protect against becoming overweight or obese; however, the cross-sectional design of the study does not allow conclusions about the causality of the association.


whole-grain consumption, body weight, obesity, dietary fibre

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