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Validation of food diary method for assessment of dietary energy and macronutrient intake in infants and children aged 6–24 months


Objectives: To compare the estimated food diary record (ED) method against weighed intake record method (WI) for assessing dietary intake in infants and children aged 6–24 months; additionally, to compare WI with metabolisable energy intake (ME) measured by doubly labelled water (DLW) in infants aged 6–12 months.

Design: Cross-over study of 5 day WI vs 5 day ED.

Subjects: Seventy-two children aged 6–24 months.

Methods: Subjects were randomly assigned to one method during week 1 crossing over to the alternative method in week 2. Data were coded and translated into daily nutrient intakes using COMP-EAT version 5 nutritional analysis software. The analysis compared energy, protein, fat and carbohydrate. Twenty-one infants were dosed with DLW for measurement of total energy expenditure (TEE) and ME.

Results: Mean energy intake calculated from WI and ED was 3782 and 3920 kJ/day, respectively. There was no significant difference between these values. Using WI as a reference, ED showed a mean bias of 138 kJ/day, equivalent to 3.6% of mean energy intake. Limits of agreement (±2 s.d. of the bias) were wide at±1385 kJ/day. There were no significant differences between methods for any of the nutrient sub-classes. Using DLW as a reference, WI showed a mean bias of 243 kJ/day, equivalent to 7.3% of mean energy intake, limits of agreement were wide at ±1686 kJ/day.

Conclusion: There is no evidence from the present analysis that ED is less accurate than WI for assessing energy and nutrient sub-class intakes in groups of this age but this good agreement between methods in groups does not extend to individuals.

Sponsorship: Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, USA.

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2001) 55, 124–129

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Guarantor: Professor Alan Lucas.

Contributors: JL coordinated the study, conducted the field work and data analysis, prepared the original manuscript and edited subsequent versions. JW participated in the field work including the doubly labelled water analysis and co-wrote the manuscript. ML assisted in the study design, participated in field work, and co-wrote the manuscript. AL conceived the original study concept and assisted in the design and appraisal of the findings.

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Lanigan, J., Wells, J., Lawson, M. et al. Validation of food diary method for assessment of dietary energy and macronutrient intake in infants and children aged 6–24 months. Eur J Clin Nutr 55, 124–129 (2001).

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  • dietary assessment
  • doubly labelled water
  • food records
  • intake

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