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Eur J Clin Nutr. 2000 Apr;54(4):281-7.

Low energy reporters vs others: a comparison of reported food intakes.

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National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.



To partition the food reports of low energy reporters (LERs) and non-LERs into four aspects-tendency to report a given food, frequency of reports per user, portion sizes per mention, and the qualitative (low-fat, low-sugar, low-energy) differences of the reports-in order to determine what differentiates them from one another. ASSESSMENT METHOD: Two non-consecutive 24h dietary recalls. Low energy reporting was defined as energy intake lower than 80% of estimated basal metabolic rate.


In-home personal interviews.


8334 adults from a stratified, multi-stage area probability sample designed to be representative of noninstitutionlized persons residing in households in the United States.


Across all different types of foods, there are those food groups which LERs are less likely to report (28 of 44 food groups), those which they report less frequently when they do report them (15 of 44 groups), and those for which they report smaller quantities per mention (26 of 44). Qualitative differences in the food choices-that is, differences in fat, sugar, and/or energy content-were not so widespread (4 of 24 food groups).


The practical application of analyses such as these is to improve the methods of gathering dietary data so that this kind of bias can be reduced. Further methodological research is needed to reduce the likelihood of respondents neglecting to mention foods and underestimating portion sizes.

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