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Br Med J (Clin Res Ed). 1987 Aug 8;295(6594):369-72.

Validation of a computer based system for assessing dietary intake.

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Academic Department of Medicine, Royal Free Hospital, London.


Dietary intake was assessed in 50 patients in hospital by using a dietary history method and computer based system for data collection and standard food tables to calculate the composition of nutrients. The results were compared with those from a weighed assessment that was calculated by using both food tables and manufacturers' food analyses. The use of the food tables overestimated mean (SEM) individual nutrient intakes by between 2.5% (1.5%) and 15.5% (3.0%). The mean errors associated with the dietary history assessment varied from -23% (7.8%) for fat intake to +21.4% (8.5%) for carbohydrate intake. Overall, 30% of the assessments of total nutrient intakes that were calculated using this method were within -20% to +20% of actual values; 18% were within -10% to +10%. The mean errors associated with the computer based assessment varied from -1.0% (4.3%) for carbohydrate intake to +8.5% (3.4%) for protein intake. Overall, 56% of the assessments of total nutrient intakes were within -20% to +20% of actual intakes; 31% were within -10% to +10%. The computer based system provides an accurate, reproducible, convenient, and inexpensive method for assessing dietary intake.

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