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Innovative approaches to estimate individual usual dietary intake in large-scale epidemiological studies

Conrad, Johanna, Nöthlings, Ute
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 2017 v.76 no.3 pp. 213-219
Internet, biomarkers, cost effectiveness, diet recall, epidemiological studies, food intake, food records, foods, probability, questionnaires, statistical analysis
Valid estimation of usual dietary intake in epidemiological studies is a topic of present interest. The aim of the present paper is to review recent literature on innovative approaches focussing on: (1) the requirements to assess usual intake and (2) the application in large-scale settings. Recently, a number of technology-based self-administered tools have been developed, including short-term instruments such as web-based 24-h recalls, mobile food records or simple closed-ended questionnaires that assess the food intake of the previous 24 h. Due to their advantages in terms of feasibility and cost-effectiveness these tools may be superior to conventional assessment methods in large-scale settings. New statistical methods have been developed to combine dietary information from repeated 24-h dietary recalls and FFQ. Conceptually, these statistical methods presume that the usual food intake of a subject equals the probability of consuming a food on a given day, multiplied by the average amount of intake of that food on a typical consumption day. Repeated 24-h recalls from the same individual provide information on consumption probability and amount. In addition, the FFQ can add information on intake frequency of rarely consumed foods. It has been suggested that this combined approach may provide high-quality dietary information. A promising direction for estimation of usual intake in large-scale settings is the integration of both statistical methods and new technologies. Studies are warranted to assess the validity of estimated usual intake in comparison with biomarkers.