Dietary assessment and physical activity measurements toolkit

Dietary assessment - Data processing

Research into diet-disease relationships necessitates the accurate collection of dietary intake data and estimation of nutritional intake. The accuracy of data obtained from studies is dependent on the precision and completeness of the data collection, use of a representative and comprehensive food composition database, and consistency and precision during data entry.

The following sections outline the processes involved in converting diet records to estimates of food and nutrient intake. Some of the pitfalls and difficulties that may be encountered are highlighted, alongside examples of steps researchers have taken to try and reduce the risk of obtaining flawed results of nutritional intake. Key considerations for researchers are provided, along with a guide to the different nutritional software programs that are currently available to assist with nutritional analysis. Reference is also made to the acknowledged limitations inherent in food composition data.  

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