Assessing the construct validity of five nutrient profiling systems using diet modeling with linear programming

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Abstract

Nutrient profiling classifies individual food products according to their nutrient content. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), validation is a key step in the development of a nutrient profiling system. The aim was to assess the construct validity of five European nutrient profiling systems (Choices, Keyhole, (AFSSA), European Commission (EC) system and Food Profiler). Construct validity was assessed for each of the five-selected nutrient profiling systems by testing whether healthy foods (that is, identified as eligible by the system) make healthy diets, and unhealthy foods (that is, non-eligible) make unhealthy diets, using diet modeling. The AFSSA, EC and FoodProfiler systems were identified as valid, but differences in their levels of permissiveness suggested some misclassified food products. The two other systems failed the construct validity assessment. Among these three systems, the EC system is the less demanding in terms of nutritional information, it would, therefore, be the easiest to implement for regulating nutrition and health claims in Europe.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2013) 67, 1003–1005; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2013.95; published online 22 May 2013

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