British Journal of Nutrition

Behaviour, Appetite and Obesity

Fibre intake among the Belgian population by sex–age and sex–education groups and its association with BMI and waist circumference

Yi Lina1, Inge Huybrechtsa1 c1, Stefanie Vandevijverea2, Selin Bolcaa3, Willem De Keyzera1a4, Stephanie De Vriesea5, Anja Poleta1, Melissa De Nevea1, Herman Van Oyena2, John Van Campa6, Guy De Backera1 and Stefaan De Henauwa1a4

a1 Unit Nutrition and Food Safety, Department of Public Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

a2 Unit of Epidemiology, Scientific Institute of Public Health, J. Wytsmanstraat 14, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium

a3 Laboratory for Bioinformatics and Computational Genomics (BIOBIX), Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

a4 Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Health Care Vesalius, University College Ghent, Keramiekstraat 80, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium

a5 Alpro Foundation vzw, Vlamingstraat 28, 8560 Wevelgem, Belgium

a6 Department of Food Safety and Food Quality, Ghent University, Coupure Links 653, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium


The objectives of the present study were to assess total dietary fibre intake and the main contributors to fibre intake in the Belgian population by sex–age and sex–education groups and to investigate its relationship with BMI and waist circumference (WC). The participants of the Belgian food consumption survey (2004) were randomly selected. Information about food intake was collected using two repeated, non-consecutive 24 h recall interviews. A total of 3083 individuals ( ≥ 15 years; 1546 men and 1537 women) completed both interviews. The main contributors to total fibre intake (17·8 g/d) were cereals and cereal products (34 %; 5·9 g/d), potatoes and other tubers (18·6 %; 3·3 g/d), fruits (14·7 %; 2·8 g/d) and vegetables (14·4 %; 2·6 g/d). Legume fibre intake was extremely low (0·672 %; 0·139 g/d). In all sex–age and sex–education groups, total fibre intake was below the recommendations of the Belgian Superior Health Council. Men (21 g/d) consumed significantly more fibre than women (17·3 g/d) (P < 0·001). Lower educated men and higher educated women reported the highest fibre intake. A significant inverse association was found between total fibre intake and WC (β = − 0·118, P < 0·001). Fruit-derived fibre was positively associated with WC (β = 0·731, P = 0·001). In summary, total fibre intake was inversely associated with WC, whereas fruit-derived fibre intake was positively associated with WC in the Belgian population.

(Received June 04 2010)

(Revised November 05 2010)

(Accepted November 08 2010)

(Online publication March 29 2011)


c1 Corresponding author: I. Huybrechts, fax +32 9 332 4994, email


Abbreviations: BSHC, Belgian Superior Health Council; WC, waist circumference