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JMIR Res Protoc. 2018 Feb 15;7(2):e42. doi: 10.2196/resprot.8990.

National Food, Nutrition, and Physical Activity Survey of the Portuguese General Population (2015-2016): Protocol for Design and Development.

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Department of Public Health and Forensic Sciences, and Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Epidemiology Research Unit, Institute of Public Health, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Faculty of Nutrition and Food Sciences, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
National Health Institute Doutor Ricardo Jorge, Lisbon, Portugal.
Institute of Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.
Research Centre in Physical Activity, Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sports, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Centro Interdisciplinar de Estudo da Performance Humana, Faculty of Human Kinetics, University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal.
SilicoLife, Lda, Braga, Portugal.
Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
University of Porto, Porto, Portugal.
Contributed equally



The assessment of food consumption data using harmonized methodologies at the European level is fundamental to support the development of public policies. Portugal is one of the countries with the most outdated information on individual food consumption.


The objective of this study was to describe the design and methodology of the National Food, Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey, 2015-2016, developed to collect national and regional data on dietary habits, physical activity (PA), and nutritional status, in a representative sample of the Portuguese general population (3 months-84 years).


Participants were selected by multistage sampling, using the National Heath Registry as the sampling frame. Data collection, during 12 months, was harmonized according to European guidelines (EU-MENU, European Food Safety Authority [EFSA]). Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) was performed on a specific electronic platform synchronized with nutritional composition data and considering the FoodEx2 classification system. Dietary assessment was performed using 24-hour recalls (two nonconsecutive, 8-15 days apart) or food diaries in the case of children aged <10 years, complemented with a food propensity questionnaire; PA data (International Physical Activity Questionnaire [IPAQ], the Activity Choice Index [ACI], and 4-days PA diaries); sociodemographic data, and other health-related data were also collected.


A sample of 6553 individuals completed the first interview, and 5811 participants completed two dietary assessments. The participation rate among eligible individuals was 33.38% (6553/19,635), considering the first interview, and 29.60% (5811/19,635) for the participants with two completed interviews (about 40% in children and adolescents and 20% in elderly individuals). Results of the survey will be disseminated in national and international scientific journals during 2018-2019.


The survey will assist policy planning and management of national and European health programs on the improvement of nutritional status and risk assessment related to food hazards, and the enhancement of PA. The infrastructures and data driven from this Survey are a solid basis to the development of a future national surveillance system on diet, PA, and other health behaviors reproducible over time.


adults; children; elderly; exercise; nutritional surveys; public health; surveys

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