Dietary Intake by Individuals

Information on food intakes by individuals is more precise than household food use data for the assessment of diet quality (13). For several reasons, household data were less than ideal for analyses of diet quality relative to the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), which were the only standards available (25). Household food consumption data included food discard, resulting in overestimates of nutritional quality. To compare household intake levels with the RDAs, it was necessary to adjust for the consumption of food away from home, which was not surveyed, as well as to make various assumptions related to the apportionment of food among household members and their differing nutritional needs. Individual intake data represent foods as eaten, excluding food discard and including both food eaten at home and food away from home. Individual intakes can appropriately be compared with sex-and age-specific RDAs. The first USDA nationwide survey of food intakes by individual members of households was conducted in spring 1965 as a supplement to the 19651966 HFCS. One day of intake for about 14,500 individuals in the United States was collected using a one-day (24hour) recall.

The 1965 individual intake data were found to be very useful as baseline data, resulting in many requests for enlarging their scope—more intake days per individual, all seasons, and more questions on dietary practices. Consequently, the scope of the second nationwide survey of die tary intakes by individuals was greatly expanded in 19771978 and the name changed from the Household Food Consumption Survey to the Nationwide Food Consumption Survey. Three consecutive days of food intake were collected in four seasons for more than 30,000 individuals in the 48 conterminous states. In the NFCS 1977-1978, individuals provided information on their own intakes, unlike in the HFCS 1965 when the household respondent had provided information for all household members. In 19871988, another NFCS was conducted, which included the collection of three consecutive days of food intake data from about 15,000 individuals. Most of the procedures used to obtain food intake reports were similar in the two NFCS surveys. Intake data were collected using a 24-hour recall and a two-day record. Interviewers collected the first day of data in the home and instructed the individuals in the households on filling out the two-day records. The interviewer then returned after the third intake day to answer any questions and collect the records.

In 1985 the first national USDA survey of dietary intake by individuals independent of a household food use component began. Its purpose was to collect data more frequently than every 10 years, thus providing up-to-date information on the adequacy of diets of selected population groups and early indications of dietary changes— important considerations for data that are used in planning food assistance and educational programs and in administering a variety of public programs affecting the supply, safety, and distribution of the nation's food. The CSFII was repeated in 1986. In both years the survey included two nationally representative samples—an all-income sample and a low-income sample. In both years, the all-income sample included about 1500 women 19 to 50 years of age and about 500 of their children 1 to 5 years of age. The low-income sample included about 2100 women and about 1200 children 1 to 5 years of age in 1985 and about 1300 women and 800 children in 1986. A sample of men age 19 to 50 years of age was included in 1985 only. Food intake data were collected using a panel approach: Collection from each individual took place on up to six non-consecutive days at intervals of approximately two months over a one-year period. The first day of intake was collected using an in-person interview; subsequent days of data were collected by telephone when possible. A 24-hour dietary recall was used for all intakes.

In 1989 the panel aspect of the 1985 and 1986 CSFII was dropped and the CSFII 1989-1991 was conducted using the same methodology as the individual intake portion of the NFCS 1987-1988. Individuals who took part in the CSFII 1989-1991 were asked to provide three consecutive days of dietary data. The first day's data were collected in an in-home interview using a one-day (24-hour) dietary recall. The second and third days' data were collected using a self-administered two-day dietary record.

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