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Validity of the assessment of dietary intake: problems of misreporting

Westerterp, Klaas R.; Goris, Annelies H.C.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care: September 2002 - Volume 5 - Issue 5 - p 489-493
Assessment of nutritional status and analytical methods
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Purpose of review This is a review of recent studies on the analysis of misreporting of food intake and on the consequences of misreporting for the interpretation of dietary surveys. Bias in the assessment of dietary intake was analysed from studies comparing reported intake with doubly labelled water assessed energy expenditure.

Recent findings There is not yet a method for the accurate determination of dietary intake. Physical and psychological characteristics of study participants play an important role in the observed reporting bias. The degree of misreporting might increase with repeated dietary assessment in the same subjects, confounding the results of intervention studies.

Summary Campaigns aimed at changing food intake might not be as successful as concluded from the results of national food consumption measurements. Subjects might be reporting according to expected instead of real intake. In a clinical setting, the increased awareness of the nursing staff has been observed to result in overreporting of intake.

Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Correspondence to Klaas R. Westerterp, Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, PO Box 616, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands. Tel: +31 43 3881628; fax: +31 43 3670976; e-mail K.Westerterp@HB.Unimaas.NL

© 2002 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.