Determinants of non- response to a second assessment of lifestyle factors and body weight in the EPIC-PANACEA study

Anne M. May, Lotte E. Adema, Dora Romaguera, Anne-Claire Vergnaud, Antonio Agudo, Ulf Ekelund, Annika Steffen, Philippos Orfanos, Nadia Slimani, Sabina Rinaldi, Traci Mouw, Sabine Rohrmann, Silke Hermann, Heiner Boeing, Manuela M. Bergmann, Marianne Uhre Jakobsen, Kim Overvad, Nicholas J. Wareham, Carlos Gonzalez, Anne TjonnelandJytte Halkjaer, Timothy J. Key, Elizabeth A. Spencer, Veronica Hellstrom, Jonas Manjer, Bo Hedblad, Eiliv Lund, Tonje Braaten, Franoise Clavel-Chapelon, Marie-Christine Boutron-Ruault, Laudina Rodriguez, Maria J. Sanchez, Miren Dorronsoro, Aurelio Barricarte, Jose Maria Huerta, Androniki Naska, Antonia Trichopoulou, Domenico Palli, Valeria Pala, Teresa Norat, Amalia Mattiello, Rosario Tumino, A. van der Daphne, H. Bas Bueno-de-Mesquita, Elio Riboli, Petra H. M. Peeters

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Background: This paper discusses whether baseline demographic, socio-economic, health variables, length of follow-up and method of contacting the participants predict non-response to the invitation for a second assessment of lifestyle factors and body weight in the European multi-center EPIC-PANACEA study.Methods: Over 500.000 participants from several centers in ten European countries recruited between 1992 and 2000 were contacted 2-11 years later to update data on lifestyle and body weight. Length of follow-up as well as the method of approaching differed between the collaborating study centers. Non-responders were compared with responders using multivariate logistic regression analyses.Results: Overall response for the second assessment was high (81.6%). Compared to postal surveys, centers where the participants completed the questionnaire by phone attained a higher response. Response was also high in centers with a short follow-up period. Non-response was higher in participants who were male (odds ratio 1.09 (confidence interval 1.07; 1.11), aged under 40 years (1.96 (1.90; 2.02), living alone (1.40 (1.37; 1.43), less educated (1.35 (1.12; 1.19), of poorer health (1.33 (1.27; 1.39), reporting an unhealthy lifestyle and who had either a low (25, 1.08 (1.06; 1.10); especially >= 30 kg/m2, 1.26 (1.23; 1.29)).Conclusions: Cohort studies may enhance cohort maintenance by paying particular attention to the subgroups that are most unlikely to respond and by an active recruitment strategy using telephone interviews.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBmc Medical Research Methodology
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)148
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

© 2012 May et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Non-response
  • Non-participation
  • Lost-to-follow-up


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