Validity of the assessment of dietary intake: problems of misreporting

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Abstract

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.

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