Developed Countries

N R Sahyoun, University of Maryland, College Park,

MD, USA

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

There has been increasing recognition in the past three decades that dietary intake patterns are associated with the development of chronic diseases and that improving nutritional intake may be a means of improving the well-being of the population and of reducing the cost of health care. Hence, nutritional surveillance has become an important topic on the health political agenda in many areas of the world and may become an integral part of surveillance systems. In addition, as new technology has enabled faster data collection and analysis, surveillance systems have evolved and become more sophisticated in the past decade.

This article defines nutrition surveillance and its usefulness. It also describes the types of surveillance activities and systems in place in the industrialized countries of Europe, the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. Emerging issues in nutrition and health are also discussed. Note that although the structures of surveillance systems in industrialized and developing countries have many similarities, the type of activities, target populations, and outcomes may be different. Thus, there is a need to describe the nutritional surveillance systems in place in industrialized countries separately.

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