list and recipe assumptions may lead to error in estimation of intake in some subgroups

They do not, however, provide information on individual intakes within the household, and are not useful for understanding age- and sex-specific intakes.

For a detailed understanding of food and nutrient intake by age, sex, and physiologic state, data are needed at the individual level. Surveys of individual dietary intake use methods that range from qualitative food checklists to multiple detailed records of food intake, with quantification of preparation methods and portion sizes. Data at the individual level are used for a variety of purposes and the design of the survey and level of detail utilized will depend on the primary data needs. At the national level, a primary objective is to identify subgroups at risk of inadequate intake of energy or specific nutrients. The important advantage of individual level data is that target age and sex groups may be identified in addition to groups identified by region or other household level characteristics. A further objective is to determine the extent of undernutri-tion in relation to energy or specific nutrients in the total and subpopulations. This requires consideration of the distribution of intakes in specific age, sex, and physiologic status groups. A more ambitious objective of some national or targeted dietary surveys is to associate aspects of individual dietary intake with the existence of health conditions. This objective requires that survey data be valid and reliable at the individual level and requires the estimation of usual intake by individuals.

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