Recruitment to EPIC-Norfolk began in March 1993 and was completed by the end of 1997. Invitations were sent to all 40-79 year olds on the list of collaborating GPs. The GP surgeries approached were in rural areas and market towns of Norfolk as well as the city of Norwich.
The information collected when people first joined the study is known as baseline information.
Over 30,000 of the people approached returned a consent form indicating that they wished to join the study. They also completed a health and lifestyle questionnaire, which asked about their medical history, lifestyle and other known risk factors, such as smoking and alcohol intake. In addition, people who agreed to enter the study completed a form recalling what they had eaten during the last twenty-four hours.
After returning the consent form and first set of questionnaires, participants were sent an appointment for a health check and a food frequency questionnaire, which asked about their long term dietary intake over the previous year.
At the health check, the participant was examined by one of seven nurses who had been carefully trained to adhere to the EPIC protocol. The nurse recorded height, weight, waist, hip and chest measurements and took readings of blood pressure and lung capacity. The participants also gave blood and urine samples. Over 25,000 people attended the first health check.