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Public Health Nutr. 2001 Apr;4(2B):667-72.

Analytical approaches to food-based dietary guidelines in the European setting.

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  • 1TNO Nutrition and Food Research Institute, Department of Nutritional Epidemiology, Zeist, The Netherlands.



To show the effects of statistical approaches of data analysis to be used in the development of Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG).


Databases from dietary surveys in 6 European countries.


Quantile analysis based on iron intake among adult women resulted in differences among European countries regarding (macro) nutrient intake and consumption of food groups. However, in all countries women in the highest quartile had a higher intake of energy and dietary fibre and a higher intake of most food groups. In developing FBDG adjustment of energy intake is recommended. Discriminant analyses showed that among Dutch women potatoes, red meat, sausages, offal, savoury snacks, eggs and total vegetables were found to be the most predictive for differences in iron intake. Relatively high correlations were observed for iron and dietary fibre and iron and (some) B-vitamins. Examples from cluster and factor analysis showed that this type of analysis considers the complexity of the dietary pattern and could also be a helpful instrument in the development of FBDG.


The use of a nutrient distribution can be used as a minimum approach in developing FBDG. More advanced methods can also be used in addition to set priorities for FBDG and to analyse complete dietary patterns.

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