• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jepicomhJournal of Epidemiology and Community HealthVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Epidemiol Community Health. Aug 2000; 54(8): 611–616.
PMCID: PMC1731719

The problem of accuracy in dietary surveys. Analysis of the over 65 UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey


STUDY OBJECTIVE—To investigate the prevalence and nature of low energy reporting in a dietary survey of British adults over 65 years of age.
DESIGN—Randomly selected cross sectional sample of 2060 British adults over 65 years. Four day weighed food diaries and questionnaires on health, lifestyle and socioeconomic characteristics.
SETTING—Great Britain.
PARTICIPANTS—539 women and 558 men over 65 years who were free living and completed four day food diaries.
MAIN RESULTS—A high proportion of men and women were classified as low energy reporters (LERs). Reported consumption of full fat dairy products, sugar and sweet foods, and alcoholic drinks differed most between LERs and non-LERs. Among LERs, reported protein and starch intakes were higher, fat, sugar and alcohol intakes were lower. LERs of either sex were more likely to be obese, male LERs were also more likely to belong to the manual social classes.
CONCLUSIONS—The high level of low energy reporting probably resulted from a coalescence of factors such as the weighed diary methodology and a reluctance to report consumption of unhealthy foods. The use of validatory biomarkers such as doubly labelled water needs to be more widespread.

Keywords: diet

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (141K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Black AE, Prentice AM, Goldberg GR, Jebb SA, Bingham SA, Livingstone MB, Coward WA. Measurements of total energy expenditure provide insights into the validity of dietary measurements of energy intake. J Am Diet Assoc. 1993 May;93(5):572–579. [PubMed]
  • Black AE, Goldberg GR, Jebb SA, Livingstone MB, Cole TJ, Prentice AM. Critical evaluation of energy intake data using fundamental principles of energy physiology: 2. Evaluating the results of published surveys. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1991 Dec;45(12):583–599. [PubMed]
  • Pryer JA, Vrijheid M, Nichols R, Kiggins M, Elliott P. Who are the 'low energy reporters' in the dietary and nutritional survey of British adults? Int J Epidemiol. 1997 Feb;26(1):146–154. [PubMed]
  • Price GM, Paul AA, Cole TJ, Wadsworth ME. Characteristics of the low-energy reporters in a longitudinal national dietary survey. Br J Nutr. 1997 Jun;77(6):833–851. [PubMed]
  • Hirvonen T, Männistö S, Roos E, Pietinen P. Increasing prevalence of underreporting does not necessarily distort dietary surveys. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1997 May;51(5):297–301. [PubMed]
  • Goldberg GR, Black AE, Jebb SA, Cole TJ, Murgatroyd PR, Coward WA, Prentice AM. Critical evaluation of energy intake data using fundamental principles of energy physiology: 1. Derivation of cut-off limits to identify under-recording. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1991 Dec;45(12):569–581. [PubMed]
  • Livingstone MB, Prentice AM, Strain JJ, Coward WA, Black AE, Barker ME, McKenna PG, Whitehead RG. Accuracy of weighed dietary records in studies of diet and health. BMJ. 1990 Mar 17;300(6726):708–712. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Reilly JJ, Lord A, Bunker VW, Prentice AM, Coward WA, Thomas AJ, Briggs RS. Energy balance in healthy elderly women. Br J Nutr. 1993 Jan;69(1):21–27. [PubMed]
  • Voss S, Kroke A, Klipstein-Grobusch K, Boeing H. Is macronutrient composition of dietary intake data affected by underreporting? Results from the EPIC-Potsdam Study. European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Eur J Clin Nutr. 1998 Feb;52(2):119–126. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...