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Table 5 Summary of diet records and their characteristics

From: A systematic review of methods to assess intake of saturated fat (SF) among healthy European adults and children: a DEDIPAC (Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity) study

Authors/Study Population Purpose Time period Mode Structure Portion estimation
Bondia-Pons et al. [35] Adults
Age range not reported
Examine association of olive oil consumption with lipid profile and blood pressure 3 consecutive days Self-administered No details No details
Parfitt et al. [48] Adults/students
18–32 years
Examine dietary intake and anti-oxidant status 5 days or 7 days Self-administered No details Yes
Estimated and weighed.
All portions eaten and component ingredients where relevant, were weighed on household scales
For meals eaten out, portions were quantified in household measures, in some cases using the standard reference work Food Portion Sizes’17′ to help estimate portion sizes
North/South Food consumption project [34, 47] Adults
18–64 years
Determine estimates of intake of dietary fibre and non-starch
Establish a database of habitual food
and drink consumption
7 days Self-administered Participant reported the types and amounts of all foods, beverages and nutritional supplements consumed over the 7-day period, and also the time and location of each eating occasion’, the method of cooking and brand name (where appropriate), leftovers, recipe details
They also included their perceived definition of the ‘eating occasion’ either a meal or a snack
Detailed instructions were given on the recording of recipes and food/drink eaten out
Estimated and weighed.
Respondents were asked to describe food quantities that they had eaten using an album of food photographs
Fieldworkers obtained the weights of certain foods in the respondents’ homes using portable food scales
For some foods, the amounts eaten were obtained from weights printed on food packaging. Manufacturers’ information was then added to an Extended Menu Search (EMS®) facility on the nutritional analysis program (WISP®, Tinuviel Software, Warrington, UK), which interfaced with the food diary data entry system (WISP-DES®, Tinuviel Software, Warrington, UK)
SENECA [52, 53] Adults/Elderly
70–75 years
Examine cross-cultural
differences in nutrition and life-style factors
Examine cross-cultural variations and changes in intake over time
3 consecutive days Self-administered (3 day record) followed by face-to-face interview 1. Estimated diet record, structured by 8 meal periods
2. Frequency checklist
Estimated and weighed.
Portion sizes recorded in household measures and checked by weighing
Beverages portion size estimated using glasses or cups
Van Oostrom et al. [55] Adults
20–55 years
Examine relationship of dietary habits and lipid profile 3 non-consecutive days Self-administered No details Estimated
The participants estimated their intake in a quantitative manner through instructions given by an allocated dietician and aided by a standardised portion size table
WHO-MONICA EC/MONICA Project optional nutrition study [33, 56] Adults/Men
45–64 years
Dietary determinants of cardiovascular disease 3 consecutive days (Belgium, France, NI, Finland, Italy)
7 consecutive days (Germany, Denmark, UK)
3 consecutive 24-HDRs (Spain)
Self-administered Interview admin. or telephone administered for Barcelona. Generally week and weekend days representative for the whole week were included
Data collection carried out in several seasons.
Participants recorded the preparation method, type of food or brand name, and recipes
In the Winkler et al. [76] study all records used weighing and household measures to determine portion size, with the exception of Belfast 3-day record which used precise weighing
According to the report on the assessment methodology [33], three main approaches were used:
Picture book and food models (France (Spain, Italy, Germany)
Household measures (Germany, France, Spain, Finland, UK, Italy, Denmark)
Standard units (Germany, France, Finland, Spain, UK, Italy, Denmark)
ZENITH [57] Adults/Elderly
55–87 years
Describe intake and status of vitamin
A, vitamin E and folate in the middle-aged and old-aged
4-day (recall method) Self-administered Included 2 weekdays and weekend days.
Participants recorded all foods and drinks consumed, describing the foods and portion sizes in as much detail as possible
Portion sizes related on standard portion sizes using visual book reference standard of foods (SU.VI.MAX, 1994; DietoMetro, 1999)
  1. MONICA multinational MONItoring of trends and determinants in CArdiovascular disease, ZENITH Zinc Effects on Nutrient/nutrient Interactions and Trends in Health and ageing, SENECA Survey in Europe on Nutrition and the Elderly; a Concerted Action