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Rev Saude Publica. 2013 Feb;47 Suppl 1:171S-6S.

Assessing usual dietary intake in complex sample design surveys: the National Dietary Survey.

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  • 1Departamento de Nutrição Social, Instituto de Nutrição, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brasil.


The National Cancer Institute (NCI) method allows the distributions of usual intake of nutrients and foods to be estimated. This method can be used in complex surveys. However, the user must perform additional calculations, such as balanced repeated replication (BRR), in order to obtain standard errors and confidence intervals for the percentiles and mean from the distribution of usual intake. The objective is to highlight adaptations of the NCI method using data from the National Dietary Survey. The application of the NCI method was exemplified analyzing the total energy (kcal) and fruit (g) intake, comparing estimations of mean and standard deviation that were based on the complex design of the Brazilian survey with those assuming simple random sample. Although means point estimates were similar, estimates of standard error using the complex design increased by up to 60% compared to simple random sample. Thus, for valid estimates of food and energy intake for the population, all of the sampling characteristics of the surveys should be taken into account because when these characteristics are neglected, statistical analysis may produce underestimated standard errors that would compromise the results and the conclusions of the survey.

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