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Measurement and evaluation of dietary intake and dietary data

In order to understand how the food we eat affects our health, it is essential to study and evaluate individuals and groups intake of food.

This, however, is rather complicated, as existing methods are time consuming for participants in dietary studies. There are also inherent sources of error. Consequently, an important part of nutritional studies consists of finding methods that are less demanding for participants and assessing the credibility of the collected data. If a study doesn't collect accurate data about food choices/consumption, false conclusions could be made regarding nutrition's consequences for health.

At the Department of Food and Nutrition, we have experience from various studies that use a variety of nutritional research methods to assess, evaluate, and validate dietary intake. Currently, two research projects are in progress, in which dietary assessment comprise a central part: Pro Meal (link to homepage) and the LCHF (Low Carb High Fat) – Project (link to homepage).

In the ProMeal study (Prospects for Promoting Health and Performance by School Meals in Nordic Countries), the dietary intake of children in the 4th grade is being studied using a photographic method (of school lunches), and a validated questionnaire to parents regarding intake of food at home.

In the LCHF – Project, researchers supply all of the food participants eat during the study period, and participants are carefully checked to be sure that they eat only the food given to them. One goal of the LCHF – Project is to find biological markers for the two diets being studied, something that would be valuable in future dietary studies.

Earlier research at the department has covered, among other things, intervention studies and Case control studies, ranging from children to older people with various dietary assessment methods. Some of these methods are: Food Frequency Questionnaires, food records, 24-hour recalls, photographs, and diet history interviews.

Since nutritional studies are a central part of the subject Food and Nutrition, dietary assessment methods are a part of many courses, both at basic and advanced levels. At the advanced level, we give a course dedicated to these methods: Dietary Assessment Methods, 7,5 hp.

Head of project