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Dietary Assessment Methods - Essay Example

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Dietary Assessment Methods Institution/School Name Introduction Researchers, physicians and nutritionists commonly use a variety of dietary assessment methods in order to identify, monitor and/or examine an individual or group's dietary practices and behaviors…
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Download file to see previous pages Sociodemographic, ethnic and cultural factors have also been found to influence responses (e.g. gender, age, weight or body mass index, level of education, ethnicity, cultural background) (Buzzard & Sievert, 1994; Johansson, Wikman, Ahren, Hallmans & Johansson, 2001; Paalanen et al., 2006). Since no dietary assessment method provides results that are totally error-free, it is important to select the method that is most appropriate for the intended use, as each method has its own strengths and weaknesses (Fernandez-Balart et al., 2010; Kubena, 2000). The food frequency questionnaire and the food diary/record are two commonly used dietary assessment methods. This paper will examine each method and then compare/contrast the two. Food Frequency Questionnaire Currently, the food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) is the most commonly used method in large epidemiological and clinical research studies (Jardack, 2006). The questionnaire contains a list of foods and respondents are asked how frequently they consumed those foods over a certain time period (Buzzard & Sievert, 1994; Watson, Collins, Sibbritt, Dibley & Garg, 2009). Responses can be self-reported by participants or be given in a short interview. A FFQ may or may not contain information regarding portion size - FFQs with no portion size information provide quantitative data; FFQs with portion size information based on current standards provide semi-qualitative data; and, FFQs using portion size information reported by the respondents provide qualitative data (Fernandez-Balart et al., 2010). The FFQ has repeatedly been found to have a high percentage of agreement between record and recall, supporting its reliability as a dietary assessment tool (Block, 1982; Fernandez-Balart et al., 2010; Paalanen et al., 2006). Furthermore, compared to other dietary assessment methods, the FFQ is relatively inexpensive to administer, quick to complete and imposes a low burden on respondents, supporting its suitability for use with large populations (Block, 1982; Kubena, 2000). A number of studies have found the FFQ to be a reliable and valid tool, especially for use with large populations; however, the FFQ is not without its limitations (Block, 1982; Fernandez-Balart et al., 2010; Paalanen et al., 2006). For example, the validity of the FFQ has been shown to improve with the use of a more detailed food list that is designed to be appropriate for use with a specific population; therefore, FFQs must contain food lists specifically designed for the population that is intended to provide the responses (Watson et al., 2009). As with all dietary assessment methods, another limitation of the FFQ is that the data collected is subject to respondent error, which may be caused by a number of factors (e.g. memory lapse, fatigue, unfaithful or incorrect reporting, sociodemographic, ethnic, cultural)(Buzzard & Sievert, 1994; Johansson et al., 2001). Finally, another weakness of the FFQ is that dietary intake is often overestimated by respondents, especially on the first administration; however, estimated intake values decrease and more accurate responses are provided in subsequent administrations of the FFQ (Fernandez-Balart et al., 2010). Food Diary/Record Another widely used dietary assessment method is the food diary or food record (FR). The FR requires participants to record their actual food intake at the time the food is eaten. This ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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