Illustration of the Importance of Adjustment for within- and between-Person Variability in Dietary Intake Surveys for Assessment of Population Risk of Micronutrient Deficiency/Excess Using an Example Data Set

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Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

Nutrition intervention decisions should be evidence based. Single 24-h recalls are often used for measuring dietary intake in large dietary studies. However, this method does not consider the day-to-day variation in populations’ diets. We illustrate the importance of adjustment of single 24-h recall data to remove within-person variation using the National Cancer Institute method to calculate usual intake when estimating risk of deficiency/excess. We used an example data set comprising a single 24-h recall in a total sample of 1326 1–<10-year-old children, and two additional recalls in a sub-sample of 11%, for these purposes. Results show that risk of deficiency was materially overestimated by the single unadjusted 24-h recall for vitamins B12, A, D, C and E, while risk of excess was overestimated for vitamin A and zinc, when compared to risks derived from usual intake. Food sources rich in particular micronutrients seemed to result in overestimation of deficiency risk when intra-individual variance is not removed. Our example illustrates that the application of the NCI method in dietary surveys would contribute to the formulation of more appropriate conclusions on risk of deficiency/excess in populations to advise public health nutrition initiatives when compared to those derived from a single unadjusted 24-h recall.