New approaches in assessing food intake in epidemiology

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Purpose of review

A promising direction for improving dietary intake measurement in epidemiologic studies is the combination of short-term and long-term dietary assessment methods using statistical methods. Thereby, web-based instruments are particularly interesting as their application offers several potential advantages such as self-administration and a shorter completion time. The objective of this review is to provide an overview of new web-based short-term instruments and to describe their features.

Recent findings

A number of web-based short-term dietary assessment tools for application in different countries and age-groups have been developed so far. Particular attention should be paid to the underlying database and the search function of the tool. Moreover, web-based instruments can improve the estimation of portion sizes by offering several options to the user.


Web-based dietary assessment methods are associated with lower costs and reduced burden for participants and researchers, and show a comparable validity with traditional instruments. When there is a need for a web-based tool researcher should consider the adaptation of existing tools rather than developing new instruments. The combination of short-term and long-term instruments seems more feasible with the use of new technology.

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